How to become a proofreader
Are you looking for actionable information on how to become a proofreader?
Do you love to make snarky comments on grammatical mistakes, errors or typos?
If yes, proofreading is definitely the best side hustle for you and this post on how to become a proofreader will help you! It is an ultimate guide to proofreading.
Proofreading work is one of the most flexible ways to supplement your existing income or completely replace it.
And, if you like to read anyway, your search for the perfect (and suitable!) work from home job is over. I can see us dance like these
But, am I cut out to become a proofreader?
Do I have the abilities to start proofreading from home and earn a full-time income?
Do I need formal training to be able to do any proofreading work?
Is it profitable?
How to become a proofreader?
There are several questions around proofreading from home in general.
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This ultimate guide on how to become a proofreader is for beginners with no experience who want to become a proofreader and launch a profitable career to earn money online working from home.
So are you ready?
If you are, start learning the tricks of the trade, be sure to check out this 45 minutes video training that will tell you a lot about being a successful proofreader. This is your step towards being profitable!
Now, let’s understand a few things about proofreading work and how to become a proofreader –
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#1 What is proofreading work, after all?
Proofreading work involves fine combing what is already being edited to ensure that the content is free of typos, grammatical or punctuation errors. After the content has been proofread, it is sent for publication and not before that.
It is the final touch to the content before it goes live. Basically, you are responsible to tidy up and assure the quality of content.
#2 What exactly does a proofreader do and Is it different from editing
Proofreading work is significantly different than editing. In simple terms, editing comes before any content is sent for proofreading.
Editing deals with restructuring, suggesting changes, deleting parts of copy and ensuring that the copy reads well. You are expected to be involved in the copy if you are an editor.
But, proofreading work does not require you to do any of these. You are NOT expected to see if the copy reads well or suggest any changes. None of this is a part of proofreading.
Proofreaders are responsible for typos, grammar or punctuation errors only.
Usually, if you want to become a proofreader, you will some of these things:
- Check formatting, page numbers, and headings
- Check the table of content against page numbers, chapter titles, appendices, index, annexures etc.
- Ensure that the copy has a consistent style throughout. They could be required to follow a particular style guide.
- Look for omissions, redundant words, inconsistencies in typography and content
- Check or insert cross-references
- Eliminate redundant, confusing words, columns, breaks, titles etc
#3 What does it take to become a proofreader? How to become a proofreader?
First, you will need a professional website which details the services you will be providing.
You can start a website with as little as $3.95 a month or Rs. 276 a month (if you are in India, you can also opt for Hostgator for Rs. 350 a month) or go with the free options. However, I do not recommend using free options. You can read about other options here and here.
You can use this step by step tutorial to get your WordPress blog up and running. If you have difficulty in understanding the basics (like domain name, wordpress.org or .com, hosting etc), you can read this article on website basics.
Secondly, if you are an avid reader who can naturally spot errors, then you already have everything required for proofreading to work for you.
So, how do you know if you have the skill set to become a proofreader from home? Tell me –
Do you read blogs and spot at least 1-2 mistakes in almost all of them?
Do you read magazines and laugh at how silly a few sentences read?
If you can relate to any of them, you are a detailed oriented person and have the potential to become a proofreader already.
Thirdly, you will need to be adept at grammar, syntax, punctuations, etc. However, all of that can be learned. So, you don’t have to worry. Ha!
Fourth, you will need to learn the trick of the trades. For example, you cannot proofread a document and write huge comments explaining what you have to say. It would be a waste of your time. For this purpose, there is proofreaders mark – these are marks that show what changes need to be done.
To get an overview of what it takes to become a proofreader (and, what the future will entail), get your hands on this online training on proofreading and it is FREE.
#4 Do I need to have an English Degree for freelance proofreading? Do you need qualifications to be a proofreader?
Absolutely, NOT. You do not need any professional qualifications to be a proofreader.
Many companies require a degree for any kind of proofreading work, but there are many more who don’t.
Look, having a degree does not mean you will be a successful proofreader. Similarly, not having a degree does not automatically mean that you suck. It is almost always about the willingness to learn and market yourself.
If you are a beginner proofreader with no experience, it might take some time to establish yourself, market and land clients. You will have to continually grow, learn and unlearn (yes, unlearn as well!).
So, if you ask me how to become a proofreader and what’s one thing you need – All that you need is a business mindset (not a desperate job seeker mindset).
Relevant Read on how much do proofreaders make and how you can too –
#5 Do I need to select a proofreading niche? How to do that?
I have been able to earn $2000+ as a freelance writer consistently because I niched down. I decide to target marketing companies and stick to it. It not only helped me find target clients quickly, it also helped market myself as an expert.
Proofreading works no differently. I have seen many writers who are also proofreaders for their clients. Most of the established ones have a niche.
See, it all comes down to one thing. Once you have a niche and gain adequate experience, you can start charging big bucks.
For example, Caitlin – a known proofreader, is focused on transcripts and knows that her target clients are law offices and lawyers. She has been able to earn $40k a year and shares all her strategies here.
Here are a few examples of the proofreading niches you can have in the beginning
- White papers
- Academic papers
- Marketing materials
- Press releases
That said, I want to repeat myself.
Niches are to market yourself. You can take on work outside of the niche to understand where your interests and ability lies.
Remember, you can change the niche anytime!
#6 Where can I find proofreading work online
Everywhere. There is so much content out there that everyone needs a proofreader.
But, don’t fall into the trap of selecting an easy niche.
See, if you target startup blogs, they probably cannot pay you that much. For them, not a lot is at stake if there are minor mistakes.
Now, take a look at the list of niche above. People will almost always pay you higher to ensure that there are no errors in their whitepapers, transcripts, contracts etc. So, choose a niche where proofreading is a sensitive and integral part of the process.
Proofreading should never be an option for your target clients! Ask this before selecting a niche and you will choose the right one.
You should also check out these 33+ places to find online proofreading jobs for beginners.
Note: The most difficult part of being a general proofread is landing clients. The old freelancer adage “feast or famine” is definitely true. Check out this post on using Facebook groups to land clients.
#7 Is it profitable to become a proofreader? How much do proofreaders make?
This is an extremely important and frequently asked question – how much does a freelance proofreaders earn, after all?
You need to know that with an increase in blogging and self-publishing, there is an increase in demand for proofreading services. You can sign up for this free webinar to know more about earning $40000 a year.
#8 How do I get started? How to become a proofreader?
Before anything else, you need to start building a website for your services. You are going to start working from home and it is important that you have virtual existence.
You can start a website with as little as $3.95 a month or Rs. 276 a month (if you are in India, you can also opt for Hostgator for Rs. 350 a month) or go with the free options. However, I do not recommend using free options. You can read about other options here and here. You can use this step by step tutorial to get your WordPress blog up and running.
If you do not understand technical terms like hosting, domain, CMS etc, read this beginner guide on setting up a blog.
Once that is done, start looking out for proofreading clients on the following platforms
- Job Boards
- Facebook groups.
You should also check out these 33+ places to find online proofreading jobs for beginners.
You can also sign up for this FREE course which talks about tips and strategies to earn up to $40000 a year as a proofreader. Learn to proofread online for free, do sign up for it!
#9 Anything else you need to know on how to become a proofreader?
Yes, like every other business, proofreading is difficult. It will take time to establish yourself if you are doing everything on your own.
Yet there is an incredibly high demand for freelance proofreading worldwide, and the best part is that you don’t need to be in any specific location to do the job… it’s all from your computer or tablet!
If you want to become a proofreader and scale quickly, I suggest investing in yourself. That said, you can definitely learn everything by yourself and put a trial & error method in place.
But, imagine an expert sharing everything you need to do to get it right in the first attempt? You will know you are on the right track and won’t have to restart all over again.
For the purpose of online training on proofreading, you should definitely look at this. It will help you get the basics of proofreading to make sure you are a word skills SUPERSTAR as well as turn the knowledge into a profitable business.
Over to you
Do you think you can become a proofreader? Can proofreading be your thing? How do you plan to begin? Comment below and let us know
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How to find and pitch clients your freelance services – Are you tired of looking for clients on Facebook groups and job boards? Did you land clients but they offered you peanuts? Well, the only thing you are missing in the picture is to learn how to find and pitch clients your services directly. Using the methods in the book, I was able to make $900 in the first month of freelancing and it has only grown from there. Check it out.
Become a work at home mom – A FREE training session that comes along with a workbook and guides you through the entire freelancing journey. Not only it tells you what is freelancing, but it also tells you the various option and how to go about establishing one (without any INVESTMENT cost).
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There you go.