Do you want to learn how to become a proofreader?
Proofreading is a flexible and detail-orientated side hustle. All you need to work as a proofreader is a laptop or tablet, an internet connection, and a good eye for pointing out mistakes.
So, if you want to find out how to become a proofreader, pay attention to today’s interview with Caitlin Pyle from Proofread Anywhere!
In 2014, Caitlin made slightly over $43,000 by being a freelance proofreader, while also going on several fun vacations.
You may actually remember Caitlin from when I first interviewed her about how to become a court transcript proofreader. She explained what transcription proofreading is, how much you can make, and what it takes to get started.
Today’s interview with Caitlin is all about becoming a general proofreader. Caitlin explains how this may be a great option for you as a way to make extra money or even as a full-time career.
If you are looking for a new job or even just a side hustle, learning how to become a proofreader may be something that you want to look into.
I often write about the best ways to make money from home and the different ways to work for yourself. One of the lesser known ways to do this is by proofreading.
But, there is a super high demand for proofreading, and you can do it from home or while traveling.
You’ll learn more about this in my interview with Caitlin, but proofreaders take content that other people have written and then go over it with a fine-tooth comb to make it perfect. You might be proofreading blog posts, print articles, academic articles, website copy, ad copy, and more.
As a proofreader, you’re responsible for putting the finishing touches on content to make it look polished and professional.
This job is for a very specific type of person who LOVES to correct grammar or makes a note of spelling mistakes on a restaurant menu… it takes a certain “eagle eye” ability to be good at proofreading!
But, if you’re the right person for proofreading, you can work this in-demand job to make extra money to pay off your debt, save for retirement, and more. There are lots of great reasons to make extra money, and freelance proofreading is one of many great ways to earn it.
One of the things that freelance proofreaders really love is how flexible the work is. You can easily work this side hustle outside of your normal work hours. It’s also a great way for stay-at-home parents to bring in a little extra income.
Check out the interview below for more information on how to become a proofreader.
Caitlin has put together a FREE 76-minute workshop, where she answers all of the most common questions about becoming a proofreader, and she even shows you how to use the most popular tools used by proofreaders around the world. You can sign up for free here.
How did you get started as a proofreader?
My passion for proofreading started when I studied abroad in Germany for a year in college and would help students proofread their college essays. I loved using my grammar talent to catch errors and help others turn their writing into masterpieces.
That love for proofreading continued to grow. I took my general proofreading skills to the next level when I got into proofreading transcripts for court reporters back in 2012. I was so good at spotting errors, I became known as “Eagle Eyes.” In fact, proofreading transcripts became my primary source of income in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
Because I was so passionate about proofreading, I started ProofreadAnywhere.com as a blog back in 2014, and it’s exploded since then.
What exactly is a proofreader? Is proofreading a good career?
Proofreading often gets confused with copyediting so I like to first describe it by explaining what it is not.
Proofreading is not rewriting sentences, making comments about sentence structure or word choices, moving paragraphs around, or fact checking.
In contrast, a proofreader is the last set of eyes to look at a draft before publication. They look for punctuation mistakes, misspelled words, lack of consistency, and formatting errors.
Proofreaders are important to many types of clients.
My first course, Transcript Proofreading, specifically teaches proofreaders how to proofread legal transcripts, while my General Proofreading course teaches proofreaders how to proofread from a much broader perspective.
It could be books, articles, student papers, medical documents, blog posts, emails… you name it. And anyone who is publishing these documents will want someone to look them over to make sure there aren’t any mistakes.
How much do proofreaders earn? How much money does a proofreader make?
Transcript proofreaders are paid per page, and the rate varies depending on the turnaround.
General proofreaders can negotiate a rate per page or per project, so it definitely varies.
The amount of time and effort put into this, along with the quality of the service provided to clients, is directly linked to the amount of money someone can make. And that’s why it’s hard to put a definite number on how much you can make.
All that being said, I can give you a very, VERY general idea of what you can earn proofreading a book.
This is from my good friend Chandler over at Self-Publishing School. For a nonfiction novel that’s anywhere from 15,000 – 35,000 words, a proofreader can earn between $100 – $500 for that project. Yes, that’s a bit of a range, but it gives you some idea as to what to expect for that particular type of project.
How quickly can a person start making money as a proofreader?
On average, my students take a month to get through the course, so you can guess at least a month or two before some money will be made.
And while that’s a valid question, the more important question that should be asked is, “What skills do I need to master first in order to make money?”
And because we all learn at different speeds, I really can’t say how long it will take or how quick it can be.
The important thing to remember is this isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s a learn-the-skills-and-reap-the-rewards opportunity!
Can anyone learn how to become a proofreader and make money?
ANYONE can make money proofreading — anyone who is willing to learn the skills (you HAVE to know your grammar and spelling) and hustle hard, has an eye for errors, and is flexible.
Why do you need training to become a proofreader? Do you need qualifications to be a proofreader?
Think of the last time you had to have a medical procedure. Would you want just anyone walking in and performing the procedure, or would you prefer it be someone who has mastered the skill?
While proofreading may not be a skill that can affect your health or be a life-and-death situation — although some writers may beg to differ! — proofreading is still a skill that requires training.
Some may think there isn’t a lot to know about spelling, grammar, and punctuation, but there really is a lot more to it than what you remember learning in your High School English class.
What if you’re not sure proofreading is a good fit?
A great way to get a feel for proofreading, and if it’s the right fit for you, would be to attend my FREE 76-minute workshop!
If you still feel like it’s not a good fit, that’s okay! It’s not for everyone 🙂
What’s the difference between your General Proofreading and Transcript Proofreading courses?
Transcript Proofreading: Theory and Practice is a much more focused and intense course than General Proofreading. It zooms in on the busy, fast-moving world of court reporters and the transcripts they produce.
Because transcripts are verbatim to what is said in a legal proceeding, proofreading transcripts is much more technical and complicated. The list of errors you’re hunting is completely different — and much longer. In short, transcript proofreading skills take longer to master, and the training takes longer to complete.
In contrast, General proofreading is much more… general! 🙂
If you are interested in freelance proofreading but not sure if you want to get niche-specific with transcript proofreading, General Proofreading: Theory and Practice is the perfect way to begin your journey into proofreading for profit. It’s an excellent, heavily detailed training system wherein you’ll learn everything you need to know about proofreading general texts — think books, blogs, and the like. Thanks to the rise in self-publishing, professional proofreaders are in high demand. There is no heavy focus on a specific, technical niche like court reporting within this course.
What specific steps does a person need to take in order to make money proofreading? How do I start a proofreading business?
First step is to learn the skills.
You can’t make money as a proofreader if you don’t learn how to proofread. That’s why I started my course Proofread Anywhere — to teach others how to do what I had been successfully doing!
How much does it cost to become a proofreader and how much on a monthly basis to maintain it?
The great thing about proofreading as a freelancer is there is very little cost to it.
Aside from my course to learn the skills, the only cost I would recommend would be to upkeep a website — it’s very difficult to freelance without one!
But with free to affordable web hosting and domains that can be found, that means little to no monthly costs 🙂
Can you tell me about the proofreading course you offer? Why should someone take it?
As mentioned before, my General Proofreading course teaches students how to work from home using the skill of proofreading.
Not only do we dive deep into the ins and outs of proofreading, but we also go into how to run your business, find clients, and handle all those other sticky situations you may not expect as a new freelancer.
Anyone who wants to pursue proofreading as a way to work from home will benefit from taking my course.
Lastly, are there any other tips that you have for someone who wants to learn how to become a freelance proofreader?
The biggest thing I could share is to get out of your own head and focus on who you are helping instead of your own problems. I know it’s kind of difficult if you’re drowning, so the first thing would be to stop drowning and then focus on solving problems.
You can read more about my journey from working for someone else to building my own company in my book Work At Home.
I’m actually giving it away for free — I just ask you cover shipping and handling.
Are you interested in learning how to become a proofreader?