How to become a proofreader and work from home

how to get paid to proofread

If you love reading but hate seeing errors in writing, then a career as a proofreader could be a great fit for you. 

Proofreading is an incredibly flexible work-at-home job for moms because you can set your schedule around your kids’ activities. 

But what do proofreaders really do and how do you get proofreader jobs online?

After reading this article, you’ll know exactly what proofreading is, how you can learn to do it, and what you need to do to find proofreader jobs.

What do proofreaders do?

Proofreaders are the final set of eyes on a piece of content. After content has been written and edited, a proofreader will look over the piece and fix any remaining errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar. 

It’s perfect for anyone who wants to:

  • Earn money doing something they love — reading!
  • Work from home
  • Stay home with their kids but still contribute to their family’s income
  • Do interesting work
  • Start a low-cost business from home 

How do I get paid to proofread?

As a general proofreader, you can work with a wide variety of clients. Any person or business who creates written content needs a proofreader to remove errors from their writing before it gets published. 

Reputation is everything. A proofreader can save an author or business a lot of embarrassment and negative reviews by ensuring that their content is error-free. 

The types of clients you can work with include self-publishing authors, publishing houses, businesses, government organizations, bloggers, course creators, etc. 

Do you need a degree to become a proofreader?

The good news is you don’t need a degree in English (or any other kind of degree) to be a proofreader! And you don't need years of experience. All you need is a pair of eagle eyes, excellent attention to detail, ability to meet deadlines, and good communication skills. 

If you’re the kind of person who spots errors on restaurant menus, social media, and billboards from a mile off, then proofreading could be the perfect work-from-home opportunity for you.

What qualifications do you need to become a proofreader?

In the US, there is currently no official proofreading certification. That being said, it’s hugely important that you make sure you know how to do the job before you start looking for clients.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you’re an excellent proofreader just because you were good at English in school. Language changes over time, and it’s easy to pick up bad grammar habits, especially considering how much time we spend on social media these days. 

You only get one opportunity to impress a client. For obvious reasons, clients expect a high level of accuracy from a proofreader, so taking on clients before you’ve verified your skills is a huge risk.

There are training courses like Proofread Anywhere you can take that will teach you how to proofread properly and how to find the most common mistakes in writing. This way you get lots of practice and you can hone your skills without risking your reputation.  

Are proofreaders in demand?

Thanks to the digital world we live in today, there is a huge demand for proofreaders. 

The rise of self-publishing means that anyone can write a book. They don’t need to wait until they get picked up by a book agent and have their book sold to a publishing house. They can publish their own book on Amazon or on their own website. 

But that also means they have to look after every aspect of the book publishing process themselves — everything from proofreading and editing to cover design and marketing. 

Now, since they’re not likely to be professional proofreaders themselves, they need to hire a professional. 

There is also a huge amount of content being published online every day. Every single second, in fact! Bloggers and other content creators also provide work to proofreaders because they want their audience to trust them. 

Nothing screams “I don’t know what I’m doing” more than poor grammar does!

How much do online proofreaders make?

Here’s the part I know you’ve all been waiting for…

How much do proofreaders make per hour?

How much you can earn as a proofreader depends on your experience level and how long it takes you to proofread a document. As you gain more experience, you will be able to charge more for your services and increase your hourly rate by becoming more efficient.

It also depends on how proactive you are with marketing your business. 

It’s possible to make a very good living as a proofreader. According to ZipRecruiter, as of September 2019 freelance proofreaders earn an average of $56,762 a year in the United States or an average of $27/hour. 

That’s not bad considering you’re making money reading and doing something you love!

To give you a real-life example, Caitlin Pyle made $43,000 a year proofreading part-time — working 20–25 hours a week! Now she runs her own company from home teaching people just like you how to become proofreaders! Check it out here

Proofreading can be very flexible — you can work as a full-time proofreader or just keep it as a side hustle. You can increase your working hours if you want to earn more money, or you can work part-time hours if you just want a little extra money to cover bills or something fun!

11 ways to get your single-mom money act in 2020 and beyond!

Tools to set up your proofreading business

Before you start looking for jobs, set up a simple website. This guide of 57 business tools for work-at-home moms includes resources for setting up a website, getting incorporated, buy life insurance and disability insurance — plus manage your household when you become a busy, in-demand proofreader!

First, choose a domain name for your site — it's free!

General proofreading jobs

So how do you find online proofreading jobs?

There are lots of companies hiring freelance proofreaders. Each company will have different requirements and offer different levels of pay. 

PROOFREADING SERVICES

This company advertises full- and part-time remote proofreading positions. You’ll need to complete an application form and a timed quiz before they will hire you. 

CACTUS

Cactus hires proofreaders who specialize in the academic and medical fields, so you’ll need a graduate degree in a specialized area to be hired. 

You can also set up profiles on some freelancer websites like the ones below to find freelance proofreading jobs. 

UPWORK

Prospective clients will post an ad detailing what they need, and you pitch for the job, telling them exactly why you’re the best candidate for the job.

FLEXJOBS

This paid job board is exclusively filled with career-level postings for jobs that allow moms to work from home, telecommute, work part-time, or otherwise flexible positions.

FREELANCER

This is very similar to Upwork in that clients will post an ad, and you pitch to them. It’s important to fill out your profile properly so that these sites match you to proofreader jobs that you’re suitable for. 

FIVERR

Fiverr is a little different. You create “gigs” for different price points depending on how long the document is, the turnaround time, and the level of editing you will provide, for example. Clients will search through these gigs and choose the freelance proofreader that they feel will do the best job. 

Resources: You can also use ZipRecruiter or Steady to find remote work.

Other ways to find and keep proofreading clients

You can also attract clients by being active on social media. Posting on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and engaging with potential clients in a natural, helpful way is a great way to attract clients. 

Take advantage of any opportunities to be included on online directories, such as Self-Publishing School’s Preferred Outsourcer Rolodex. (Listing on this rolodex is an exclusive benefit of the Proofread Anywhere training course I talk about below.)

As I mentioned above though, make sure you know what you’re doing before you take on clients!

What is Proofread Anywhere?

Proofread Anywhere offers online training courses that teach people how to proofread from home (or anywhere they choose). It was started by proofreader Caitlin Pyle as a way to help more people break free from the self-doubt that plagues them by equipping them with skills they can use to generate their own income from anywhere.

Her General Proofreading: Theory and Practice course is a detailed training program where you’ll learn everything you need to know about proofreading general texts — think books, blogs, and the like. It’s got everything you need to help you on your proofreading journey from grammar lessons to practice essays to marketing tips. 

The General Proofreading course includes 40 lessons in 8 modules, including 10 grammar and punctuation worksheets and 40 practice essays so you can test and practice your skills. 

You also get membership to a private Facebook group for Proofread Anywhere students where you can ask questions if you get stuck or need an extra confidence boost. 

The course is available at two levels: Ignite and Ignite Plus. With Ignite, you get lifetime access to the course. 

With Ignite Plus, you get lifetime access to the course as well as: 

  • The opportunity to take a hand-graded exam to verify your skills, 
  • Access to an exclusive marketing mastermind group for graduates, and 
  • A listing on Self-Publishing School’s Preferred Outsourcer Rolodex.

With Ignite Plus, you also get a certificate of completion if you pass the exam, which you can display on your website/LinkedIn profile to show prospective clients that your skills are verified and of a high standard.

Get Proofread Anywhere’s FREE Intro to Proofreading Workshop >>

Here’s what’s included inside the General Proofreading: Theory and Practice course:

Module 1: Introduction to General Proofreading

This overview will cover who needs a proofreader, the skills you need to be successful, and the

differences between proofreading and editing/copyediting.

Lessons include the following:

  • Why Proofread?
  • Skills Needed to Be an Excellent General Proofreader
  • Who Needs a Proofreader?
  • What a General Proofreader Does (and Doesn't) Do
  • Terms Commonly (but Incorrectly!) Used as Proofreading
  • Editing at a Proofreading Rate

Module 2: Get into the Proofreading Mindset

You’ll learn about the different types of markets you can specialize in as a proofreader — plus learn some common terms used in the industry.

Lessons include the following: 

  • Proofreading Niches
  • Proofreader Lingo

Module 3: Proofreading Basics

This module covers the most common types of errors you will need to watch out for as a proofreader then put your skills to the test with practice worksheets. 

Lessons include the following:

  • Types of Errors
  • Capitalization
  • Apostrophes
  • Hyphens
  • Commas and Semicolons
  • Quotation Marks
  • Subject/Verb Agreement
  • Noun/Pronoun Agreement
  • Numbers
  • Commonly Misused Words
  • American and British Spelling Variations

Module 4: Proofreading Methods + Practice

You’ll see four different types of proofreading methods with thorough lessons on how to make them work best for you. Then you’ll put them to work with sample practice texts.

Lessons include the following:

  • Proofreading Methods
  • Proofreading Practice

Get Proofread Anywhere’s FREE Intro to Proofreading Workshop >>

Module 5: Turning Proofreading into a Business

Learn how to create your website and résumé, set your rates, and what to do about self-employed taxes.

Lessons include the following:

  • Creating a Website
  • A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting up Your Business Website
  • Writing Your Résumé
  • Setting Your Rates
  • Taxes and Incorporating Your Proofreading Business
  • Building on Your Proofreading Experience

Module 6: Looking for Jobs

This module is GOLD. You’ll learn the different ways you can get proofreading clients.

Lessons include the following:

  • Proofreading and Freelance Associations
  • Social Media
  • Social Media Dos and Don'ts
  • Blogging
  • Online Marketplaces
  • Online Profiles
  • Writing a Proposal
  • Avoiding Scammers
  • Don’t Expect Clients to Just Come to You

Module 7: Once You Get the Job

Learn how to work with your client’s preferences, define your relationship with other editors, and the best way to bill your clients.

Lessons include the following:

  • Starting Off on the Right Foot
  • Working with Client Preferences
  • A Proofreader’s Relationship with Other Editors on the Project
  • How to Bill Your Clients
  • Your Reputation
  • Asking for Testimonials

Module 8: Getting the Most Out of the Freelancing Life

Learn how a typical proofreader structures their day, plus how to build the confidence you need to succeed.

Lessons include the following:

  • Organizing Your Time to Avoid Burnout
  • A Day in the Life of a Proofreader
  • Gaining Confidence

Module 9: Ignite Plus Exam (accessible to Ignite Plus students only)

The hand-graded exam evaluates students for aptitude and competence in the practice of

general proofreading.

Bonus Module: The Money Mindset Transformation

In the Money Mindset Transformation workshop and workbook, you’ll learn seven life-changing concepts that will transform the way you think about money forever. 

Is Proofread Anywhere legit?

Yes, Proofread Anywhere is a legit company.

People often get suspicious when it comes to making money online. And it’s totally understandable…

These kinds of opportunities frequently sound like they’re too good to be true, which makes you wonder if you should take the risk. 

And you’re right to be wary of online opportunities. There are a lot of scams out there, but you can learn how to avoid them. Caitlin recommends that you do your due diligence when researching courses and reach out to the course creator to ask them any questions you have. If it’s a legitimate opportunity, they won’t mind you asking as many questions as you need to to feel comfortable making your decision. 

The General Proofreading course isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. If you put the work into learning how to proofread properly, proactively market your business, and commit to providing an excellent proofreading service, you will be successful as a proofreader. 

Proofread Anywhere is the real deal, and it’s a great option for anyone who wants to work from home as a proofreader.

Proofread anywhere reviews

Proofread Anywhere testimonial review
Proofread Anywhere testimonial review
Proofread Anywhere testimonial review
Proofread Anywhere testimonial review
Proofread Anywhere testimonial review

Is Proofread Anywhere worth it?

In my opinion, Proofread Anywhere’s General Proofreading course is worth it. It’s an in-depth training course that will help you not only learn how to proofread but also how to start your proofreading business and how to find clients.

A word of warning though: Proofreading is not as easy as it may seem. It may not suit people who tend to skim when they read or who aren’t bothered by the little details. It also requires training in order to provide a high-quality service, which the Proofread Anywhere course provides.

If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, taking the General Proofreading: Theory and Practice™ course by Proofread Anywhere is a great way to learn how to be a successful proofreader.

The bottom line

If you have a knack for spelling, grammar, and punctuation, a career in proofreading might be an excellent fit for you.

While traditional, in-house proofreader jobs in publishing houses may not be as plentiful as they once were, the recent rise in self-publishing and online entrepreneurship has led to an increase in the demand for proofreaders who can work from anywhere.

Get Proofread Anywhere’s FREE Intro to Proofreading Workshop >>

Related: Work-at-home careers

About Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, noted blogger, and bestselling author. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.  Find out Emma's top Single Mom Resources here.

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