Do you have an eye for detail and often find yourself catching errors in articles online or while reading your local paper? Do people ask you to review articles and papers they've written? Proofreading is such an important role and in high demand right now. It's a great venture if you're looking to start a profitable home-based proofreading business. Keep reading to learn more!
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What Proofreaders Do
Proofreaders or copy editors read other people's articles, essays, and other digital and print content. They correct spelling and grammatical errors or provide further editing for context and tone. A proofreader is often the last line of defense when it comes to publishing quality content. Simply because regardless of the writer, it's so easy to make errors that you don't even notice.
A proofreader acts as a fresh set of eyes to review the content and therefore may catch some errors that have been previously glossed over. This ensures the content is high-quality and can even add credibility to the source publishing the content. Error-free content is highly desired.
How Much Can You Earn?
According to PayScale, proofreaders earn a median income of $18.35 per hour proofreading and an annual salary ranging from $26,000 – $68,000 depending on experience.
With a proofreading business, you want to charge a fair and competitive rate that allows you to take time on your work and provide attention to detail. Your business' reputation will be built on your experience and proven track record so you want to make sure you're not rushing through work just to get paid more.
Required Skills and Equipment
In order to start your own home-based proofreading business, you need to possess a few skills.
For starters, you might want to take an editing or proofreading class to brush up on your skills, such as at Skillshare. You may be able to find a course online or at your local community college. The more you learn and practice, the better your skills will be.
You'll also need to have really accurate typing skills and be able to type at a steady pace. This will allow you to get your work done in a moderate time frame. Having good communication and marketing skills will also help your proofreading business succeed as well.
Once you have those basic skills, all you need is a computer and a reliable internet connection to get started. You may also want to legalize your business and develop an S-Corp or LLC and come up with an official name. You don't have to do that right off the bat, but it's something to consider and budget for in the future.
How to Promote Your Proofreading Business
I always recommend setting up a professional website for anyone who wants to start a business and be taken seriously. I used to work at a web design company. Having an online presence for your business is so crucial, whether you work from home or have a physical location. It's important to have an online home where people can come to learn more about you and your services. You'll also want to have answers to common questions.
Setting up a website can also help you promote your proofreading business and you may even want to start a blog on your site to increase SEO and build up your reputation as an industry thought leader.
Another way to promote your business is by setting up some social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn. You do not need to be on every platform, but you do want to be consistent on whichever platform or platforms you choose. Consider your ideal client and which platform they are likely to be on and pursue that one first.
Cold pitching is one of the best ways to find your first clients until you build up your business. You might want to try to reach out to companies, small business owners, and even bloggers. Kindly point out any errors you see on their website and politely pitch your services to them.
Big bloggers should be a great target for a proofreading business since they update their blogs by publishing content regularly. If they publish weekly or multiple times per week, that means you'll always have content to edit and can establish some recurring clients.
Another ideal prospective client would be freelance writers who produce a large volume of articles per week. Writers who work for big companies may have a budget to hire a regular proofreader to look over their work before they send it off.
Also, don't forget to ask your first few clients for reviews or testimonials. You can use those on your website and social media so you can use them as a reference to land more jobs.
How to Find More Work
To build your home-based proofreading business, you can even consider working with companies who hire freelance or contract proofreaders so you can build up your experience.
Proofreadingservices.com – (Read full review) – is an award-winning proofreading company that helps people to correct grammatical errors found in their articles, essays, or assignments. The company requires you to take a 20-minute test in order to get hired. But they have a wide range of clients across 63 different countries.
You can also search for gigs on online job boards like Upwork and even Fiverr to fill in the gaps between large projects.
Don't Forget About Taxes
Paying taxes is one of the not-so-fun parts of running a proofreading business. Don't forget to set a portion of your earnings aside to pay Uncle Sam quarterly. Talk to a tax professional to see how much you should be saving. Also, organize your income and expenses in a spreadsheet or with bookkeeping software (like Quickbooks) each month.
Most of your business expenses will be deductible which will help out around tax time. As you consider paying taxes, use that to help you determine a comfortable rate for your services that will meet your needs.
Final Thoughts about Proofreading
Proofreaders and editors are highly needed online. Launching your own home business as a proofreader is a highly profitable way to make money on your own schedule. You can start spending little to no money upfront, depending on if you want to spend money creating your own website or not. After that, start looking for clients. When you impress clients with your skills they'll be happy to send you referrals and before you know it, you'll be fully booked.
Have you ever thought about starting a home-based business? Do you know someone who would make a good proofreader? If so, share this article with them!