With over 1 billion websites on the internet, there’s a high demand for content.
This is why you’ll see a lot of freelance writers making $100 to $500 per article.
But, if you prefer reading to writing, then you may want to become a proofreader as well.
This allows you to make money while working from home doing something you enjoy.
If you’re interested, here’s how to become a proofreader from home and earn as much as $4,000 per month.
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What is a Proofreader?
A proofreader is involved in the final stage of writing, which is proofreading. Here, you’ll go through the entire article, content, or document which has been written by writers and edited by editors. Your goal is to find spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors and correct them.
As such, your job as a proofreader entails meticulously combing the article for mistakes that could make the reader feel that it wasn’t written well.
Often people confuse proofreading and editing. Sometimes, they group them together to mean the same thing. But, the two are very different stages in the writing process, which is:
- Step 1: Author or freelance writer writes the article
- Step 2: Editor edits the written content
- Step 3: Proofreader proofreads the article to remove spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors
So what’s the difference between editing and proofreading?
- Editing comes before proofreading. It also involves improving the overall flow, structure, organization of the text. This can mean changing the words used, whole sentences, or even rearranging the order of paragraphs. The goal of which is to improve clarity and allow the piece to deliver its message better for the reader.
- Proofreading on the other hand happens after the writing and editing are done. At this point, the entire article has been honed and the author is satisfied with its depth and delivery. As a proofreader, your job is to check for spelling, grammatical errors, inconsistencies in the use of numbers and punctuation. In short, it’s more technical in nature. And, you’re not actually changing the essence of what the content says. Instead, you’re making it more presentable and professional looking.
How Much Can You Make as an Online Proofreader?
When it comes to earnings, the average full-time proofreader earns between $36,000 to $57,000 per year. The range varies because a lot depends on where they’re located, the company they work for, and what kind of proofreading they do.
That said, many proofreaders are also paid by the hour. Here, the range falls between $15 to $50 per hour. Again, a lot will depend on who hires you and what kind of proofreading you’ll be doing.
Like more other freelance work, a lot of it comes down to how much work you can get on a consistent basis. For example, Caitlyn Pyle earned $43,000 a year as a part-time proofreading. She was able to do so by working between 20 to 25 hours a week. That’s a good deal!
And, in case you want to know her secrets, you can check out her FREE proofreading workshop where she goes through all the things you need to know to get started as an online proofreader.
How Do You Get Paid as a Freelance Proofreader?
There are two ways to earn money as an online proofreader.
- Find companies hiring part-time and full-time proofreaders. Here, you’re essentially working for them like you would a job. But, you’ll be able to work from home in many cases and set your own schedule.
- Find your own clients. This is another option. Here, you’ll need to find your clients yourself.
Besides how you work there are several differences between the two methods.
- Pay. With the first method, you don’t get to dictate your rate. Often, the company will have fixed rates for different kinds of proofreaders. And, they also pay differently based on your experience. In the second method, you get to charge your own rates. Most importantly, working for a company often means you earn a steady income, unless you get paid by the hour and the jobs they give you is inconsistent. If you find your own clients, you may have months where you’re backlogged with work and other months where you’re just looking to find enough work.
- Clients. In method 1, you either work for the company itself. This is the case for many digital media companies or publishing firms. Or, they might be a proofreading service firm, in which case you’ll be catering to their clients. In method 2, you find your own clients. Plus, you can get as many clients as you want as long as you’re able to manage your time and deliver high-quality service. This allows you to potentially earn more.
- Hours. In the first method, the work is assigned to you. Thus, depending on the company you’re working for, you may or may not get a consistent flow of work. Also, firms will often require a certain number of hours of work a week. With method 2, you have full control. You can work 60 hours a week this week and 0 hours next week. And, you can decide when during the day you want to work with complete flexibility.
- Marketing. The biggest advantage of method 1 is that you don’t need to do any marketing yourself. Like a desk job, you wait for the work to come to you. And, if you work for a reputable proofreading company, there will always be work. With method 2, you have to seek out your own clients. And, don’t expect to get a lot of work especially in the beginning. Often, you’ll have to start at low rates just to attract clients. But, once you have a large enough client base, you’ll be able to achieve a more consistent flow of jobs.
Do You Need A Degree or Certification to Become A Proofreader?
Simply put, no.
You don’t need to have an English major, bachelor’s degree, or pass any kind of certification to become a proofreader. Thus, it’s one online job you can make money from home with no experience at all.
That said, it’s still very important to know what you’re doing. While you can learn this yourself, I’ve found that it’s much easier (and faster) to take a good course.
One example is Proofreading Anywhere, which goes through all the things you need to know as a proofreader. It teaches you the process or system of going through a document from start to finish. And, what to look for to make sure that you’ve done a great job when you’re done.
Additionally, it also teaches you how to market your services as an online proofreader as well as where to find jobs.
Are Proofreaders in Demand?
Yes. The reason is that most online assets like blogs, digital magazines like the Huffington Post and even e-commerce sites need proofreaders.
Many smaller blogs will do the proofreading themselves to save money. But, larger websites that produce 20 or more articles a day need prolific proofreaders to be able to check all the content before they’re published.
This makes proofreading an in-demand job.
How to Get Started with Proofreading
Here’s a simple step by step guide to get started as a proofreader.
Step 1: Learn to Proofread
This is by far the most important step. You need to know what you’re doing before you start getting any clients. That’s because if you don’t, word of mouth about your poor work quality can spread fairly quickly. As a result, you pretty much torpedo your proofreading career before it even got started.
Learning to proofread involved understanding the terms and lingo used. It also involves knowing the different kinds of errors including spelling, the use of semicolons, hyphens, apostrophes, and differences between similar words like “your” and “you’re”.
You also need to know all about sentence structure including nouns and pronouns as well as how the subject and verbs go together.
Of course, you can brush through your past English classes to do this. But, I highly suggest taking a good proofreading course which is focused on the exact things you need to learn.
Step 2: Find a Niche
Blogs and websites cover all sorts of niches. And, each niche will have its own terms and jargon. For example, financial sites will talk about mutual funds, debt, and mortgage. Meanwhile, fitness blogs will cover topics like metabolism, resistance exercises, and cardio.
The problem here is that it’s difficult to keep learning different terms related to various topics. This is why you’ll see writers, editors, and proofreaders focus on a particular niche or industry.
It allows them to specialize. More importantly, it also lets them build a reputation within that industry. Doing so allows you to work for higher rates over time due to your experience in that industry.
Step 3: Find Your First Client
Once you know how to proofread, it’s time to find clients. Here, understanding where to look is just as important as knowing how to ask someone to take on your services.
That’s because there are so many different avenues you can take, where each one is different from the other. And, some being more profitable than others.
Just a few places to look include online job marketplaces, social media, bloggers, and freelance groups. Additionally, you want to know how to avoid scammers.
Knowing how to find your clients, where to look and how to ask is the best module available in Proofread Anywhere. And, the most important thing, Caitlyn Pyle, the author tells you here is that “don’t expect clients to just come to you”. That never happens.
Instead, you’ll need to go find then and ask by providing a proposal.
Step 4: Set Up a Website or Blog
Once you know you’re sure that you want to make a go at proofreading to earn money, it’s time to invest a little bit more. This includes setting up a website or blog as well as social media accounts to market your services. Additionally, you’ll want to start building your resume as well.
It is in this part where you start getting a feel for how much you should be charging.
Step 5: Build Your Client Base
This is the last step, which also happens to be ongoing for as long as you want to work as a freelance proofreader.
As much as learning to proofread provides you the fundamentals of getting your foot in the door, marketing, networking, and getting new clients while keeping your existing ones is what will keep you in the business.
Learning how to become a proofreader is just like any other job or career. But, it lets you start your own business and work for yourself. This lets you stay at home while making money. It also lets you set your own schedule while spending more time with your family.
Hopefully, the steps above give you a good idea of how to get started as a successful online proofreader.