7 Easy Steps to become an Online Proofreader and Work from Home

THIS IS A DETAILED POST WHERE I WILL EXPLAIN HOW TO BECOME AN ONLINE PROOFREADER.

Whenever I revisit my published posts to make some changes or modifications, I always find a few silly grammatical or spelling mistakes, which is quite embarrassing. While I know these are completely unintentional on my part, I always wonder how did I miss these before?

And you know what, I am not alone! Almost every blogger and content writer feel the same from time to time.

That is why many professionals and big-house publications reach out to proofreaders to ensure their contents are high quality, professional, and, most importantly, free from such spelling and grammatical errors.

So if you have keen eyes to spot such small mistakes and correct them, then you can make a promising career out of proofreading.


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When it comes to making money online, proofreading is one of the most popular options. Why?

Because....not only it has good earning potential, it also gives you the flexibility to work as per your convenience. There is a massive demand in the market for proofreaders.

So if you are interested in making a career, keep reading this post. I will explain every bit of information you need to become an online proofreader- starting from how you can get started, the average salary of proofreaders and most importantly, where you can find your dream proofreading jobs.

What is Proofreading?

Proofreading is the process of double-checking any document before you publish it and ensure the document is free from any errors. These error includes spelling, grammar, punctuation and some common often-missed or overlooked errors.

Proofreading also ensures that the writing standards are met, professional credibility and overall quality have been maintained throughout the article.

If you want to be a freelance proofreader, you must have an eye for grammatical mistakes and must have attention to all those details.

How is Proofreading different from Editing

The scope of editing work is much broader than proofreading. In editing, you need to get into more details- such as the overall structure of the article, modifying it further wherever it is required. It's a continuous process, done a couple of times before you get a final version of a document.

On the other hand, proofreading is a quicker process and turnaround time is much faster than editing. The focus of proofreading is mainly limited to the edits that include grammar, spelling, syntax, which are often missed or overlooked.

How much can You earn from Online Proofreading

According to Glassdoor, a proofreader can earn between $27,000 and $65,000 per year with an average of $42000. 

Proofreader Base Salary_Glassdoor

According to salary.com, the average salary of a proofreader is around $52,000 in the United States.

However, there are so many factors you need to understand to understand your income potential.

Some of these factors include your experience level, job location and work-hour preference, budgets set by clients etc.

Let's talk about the education qualification and other skills or eligibility criteria you will need to become a proofreader.

Education Requirement and Other Skills

Education requirements may vary for different companies you want to work with. For example, it is mandatory to have a degree for some companies. In contrast, some companies are a little bit flexible, and they can hire you if you have proven experience in proofreading work.

Skill building is a continuous process. As you start as a proofreader, your skill will develop every day and as you complete jobs. Let your work speak for yourself.

Ask for testimonials or review from your clients once you complete your work. This will give you confidence, ideas where you can improve further. Also, positive reviews, testimonials can help you to build a solid online portfolio.

With growing experience, you can set your own rate and terms. Not only this, you will be a high chance to be hired as a freelancer for all the future projects for these clients. You can also start offering other services to your clients as a freelancer.

How to become a Proofreader Online

If you are interested in becoming a proofreader but unsure how to start, check out this awesome free proofreading webinar resource by Caitlin Pyle. She has explained everything, step by step, about proofreading and how you can get started.

Over the last few years, Caitlin hosted these webinars with over 4,800 students, and many of them are now into full-time proofreading career. This 76-minute workshop will also cover five signs if proofreading is a good fit for you as a career.

7 Simple Steps to become an Online Proofreader

Step 1: Choose a Proofreading Niche

Ready to get started with proofreading as a career? Here are the 7 easy to follow steps for you:

Select a niche or topic you are most comfortable with. For example, if you enjoy writing or reading about travel, you can consider travelling as a niche. You can even narrow it further, such as solo travel, budget travel etc.

If you have enough knowledge or expertise in the niche you have picked, the job becomes easier for you. As you take more jobs in that niche, you can improve your knowledge and build credibility with the clients.

From a client or customer perspective, they also prefer to work with someone specialized in a specific topic instead of engaging in multiple niches.

Step 1: Choose a Proofreading Niche

Select a niche or topic you are most comfortable with. For example, if you enjoy writing or reading about travel, you can consider travelling as a niche. You can even narrow it further, such as solo travel, budget travel etc.

If you have enough knowledge or expertise in the niche you have picked, the job becomes easier for you. As you take more jobs in that niche, you can improve your knowledge and build credibility with the clients.

From a client or customer perspective, they also prefer to work with someone specialized in a specific topic instead of engaging in multiple niches.

Here are the different proofreading jobs that you can consider:

  • Blog posts
  • Ebooks
  • Ecommerce sites
  • Variety of websites
  • Technical articles
  • Educational reports
  • Amazon proofreading Jobs
  • Court documents
  • Medical publications

Step 2: Select proofreading as a job or as a freelancing option

Consider both the options carefully. You can consider proofreading both as a job or take control of things by staying with the freelancing option.

If you choose the freelancing route, you can be your own boss. You can decide your timing, how much you want to get paid for each proofreading project.

On the other hand, proofreading as a job sounds much secure. You won't face the struggle of finding clients, and there will be financial stability. But on the flip side, you will not have the flexibility in choosing assignments of your preference. Also, your compensation structure will be pretty much fixed for many years.

There are many online proofreading jobs where companies pay you by hourly rate. Alternatively, you can sign up on portals like Fiverr or Upwork, where you set your own salary for proofreading jobs.

Step 3: Select proofreading as a job or as a freelancing option

If you decide to work with clients directly, you can set your own price for the proofreading assignments. As I mentioned earlier, the average salary range is $42,000, and it can go up to as high as $65,000.

This broad range can mainly be because of the different level of skills, education and most importantly, your experience as a proofreader.

As a newbie, your salary will be mostly on the lower side compared to experienced proofreader who have already spent quite a few year doing proofreading and established themselves . But don't let this demotivate you in any way. Take inspiration from these proofreader and understand the huge income potential waiting for you in coming days.

All you need to do is start working and take regular actions.

Step 4: Build Your Portfolio Website

You can also create a portfolio website and start writing articles around your niche. Portfolio websites are considered to be one of the best options to connect with your target audience and showcase your skill to your clients.

When starting a portfolio website, focus on creating quality and affordable services to attract clients. For example, you can offer discount or promo coupons or offer free proofreading a few pages before your client can actually order etc. Make sure you update your website with all the testimonials your clients are leaving for your work.

You can also offer free consultations to your potential customers. This will show your customers that you truly care and aim for the best services.
When building your website, make sure you also focus on keyword research and start implementing the best SEO practices to improve your Google Ranking. 

You can also offer free consultations to your potential customers. This will show your customers that you truly care and aim for the best services.
When building your website, make sure you also focus on keyword research and start following the best SEO practices to improve your Google Ranking

Email Marketing is another powerful option to reach your customers. You can mention things like your proofreading skills, experience and how hiring you can benefit them further. In most cases, you might need to send a couple of follow-up emails before they actually respond to you.

Step 5: Create Your Offer Page on Social Media Websites

Search proofreading opportunities through social media websites like Facebook. There are many dedicated Facebook groups that are actively hiring or even searching for proofreaders for different projects. You can also create your own business page on Facebook and start posting your services. 

Keep your page up-to-date and start engaging with clients on a regular basis. Make sure to leave your contact details, emails, online form options so that your clients can reach out to you.

Just like your portfolio websites, ask your clients to add reviews on your social media pages as well once you deliver the work. Similarly, you can also use Pinterest to start publishing rich pins and attract customers to your website.

Step 6: Train Yourself to be a Proofreader

If you are wondering if you need some sort of training to be a proofreader, the answer is yes. Even if you have an English degree- Why?
Because, proofreading altogether is a special skill. As a proofreader, you need to have trained eyes to find mistakes, which others will miss.

So, work on enhancing knowledge and skills by taking the proper proofreading training. As I mentioned earlier. Caitlin Pyle has a free webinar on proofreading that can be beneficial for you if you want to be successful as a proofreader.

Facebook groups are another great place to connect with other proofreaders, ask questions and learn from experienced proofreaders. Try to learn new words every day and see how you can use those words in real life in a more meaningful way.

Reading is an important part of your proofreading career journey. The more you read, the more you will understand the appropriate usage of grammar and spelling mistakes. Making reading a habit might be hard in the beginning, so I would suggest spending 10-15 mins daily in the early morning or before you hit the bed at night. Learning is earning, after all!

Step 7: Over-deliver wherever possible

Finally, always put your best effort and ensure your client gets what they are looking for in the first place. Each job can be unique in nature in terms of requirement. But every time you deliver, you will get to learn or experience something new you can leverage in your future assignments.

Always be professional, deliver your work in a timely manner. Let your customers' testimonials speak for your work. A good track record of successful project deliveries could lead to more work assignments in future. In many cases, your existing clients can refer you to other potential clients as well.

Always be professional, deliver your work in a timely manner. Let your customers' testimonials speak for your work. A good track record of successful project deliveries could lead to more work assignments in future. In many cases, your existing clients can refer you to other potential clients as well.

Let me give you a couple of ideas on how you can over-deliver your clients by following some best practices.

  • Mention a realistic timeline to your clients, but always try to finish or deliver your work before the timeline
  • Understand what your client wants before you start working on it. You both should be in alignment in terms of what is expected and what could be delivered
  • Do not hesitate to reach out to your client whenever required. If you have a question, need clarification, have some idea, feel free to share those with your clients. Brainstorming sessions can often lead to extraordinary results
  • FAQs on Proofreading

    Let's take a look at some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) that you might be having a newbie. This will help you to learn more about proofreading how you can get paid to proofread.

    Do I need Professional Certification to be a Proofreader?

    I wish you could get one, but unfortunately, you can't get certification in Proofreading because no such certification exists. But if you take Caitlin's proofreading course Proofread Anywhere, you will get a certificate of completion.

    Caitlin Pyle is a well-known name in the proofreading name in industry. So in a way, this certification will show your client that you got the required skill and knowledge to start taking assignments.

    A degree in English is always a plus point, but it is not mandatory.

    If you don't have an English degree, apply for those jobs where it is not a requirement.

    Many companies, small businesses, and organizations will look for some sort of prior experience and certification on proofreading or at least a few testimonials from previous projects or jobs before they hire you.

    So, if you’re a beginner, most likely you won't be having any of those things.

    A good online course like Proofread Anywhere will help you to promote yourself as a capable proofreader and get your initial projects.

    Besides this, you also need to have a few skills if you want to be successful in proofreading. These are:

  • Good knowledge of grammatical rules
  • Focus to work in for longer duration
  • Ability to work under stringent deadlines
  • Are there any Proofreading Tools which I can use?

    There are various free and paid tools available that can make your proofreading works much easier. Let's take a look at them.

    Grammarly

    I will start with this amazing tool as this is my favourite and it is free. Grammarly is an online automated grammar checker used by many writers and proofreaders. Grammarly instantly highlights common spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes in your writing and suggests better ways to improve your work.

    If you go for the paid version, you will also get additional features such as plagiarism, autosuggestion based on what you write and many more things.

    Grammarly is available as a web-based tool as well as a chrome plugin. You can also add Grammarly to Microsoft office to proofread your documents in real-time.

    I would recommend using the premium version for sure to make your life much easier as a proofreader.

    Flexjobs

    Flexjobs is a well known, legit job web site that offers legit proofreading jobs. As a beginner, you can search this website for proofreading jobs. There are many companies that regularly place proofreading job ads on this site.

    Flexjobs offers a variety of membership packages and benefits to choose from. Read more about them on their website and select a suitable membership for you.

    Google Docs

    Google docs is another common tool used by proofreaders to add comments or make changes to the original document and share online

    Microsoft Word

    Microsoft Word has in-built tools like Spelling check ,Grammar and Dictionary which can help you to proofread documents. Further, you can also intergrate Grammarly tool inside you Microsoft Word.

    Transform Your Passion for Words & Reading Free Webinar

    Caitlin Pyle's free webinar Transform Your Passion for Words & Reading is a fantastic resource to help you begin your proofreading career.

    MLA and APA Writing Formats

    APA and MLA are the most commonly used citation styles, and as a proofreader, you must know about both. Each style is unique on its own. Therefore it is critical to understand the difference and use it accordingly.

    There are many online resources where you can read more about these guidelines. Alternatively, you can also get your copy of APA and MLA Writing Formats and use it as a reference.

    Where Can I find Proofreading Jobs?

    There are multiple websites that help you connect with clients who look for proofreading services. I will list down the three major websites to help you get started.

    Fiverr

    Fiverr is a freelancing website to get proofreading jobs from a variety of clients. The website is ideal for beginners to get started. You might get low-paying jobs at the beginning, but it will certainly help you boost your portfolio and experience with time.

    Flexjobs

    Flexjobs is a website that offers legitimate jobs. All the jobs posted here are genuine as they are thoroughly verified before they are posted.

    If you go for a premium membership, you will also get different premium services in finding better job offers.

    Proofreading Services

    Proofreading Services gets you hired as a proofreader through the agency. Once you get hired, your profile is matched with clients' requirements based on skill level, experience, and niche before you are assigned with a job.

    Wrapping Up

    Proofreading is no doubt a fulfilling career, provided you put the effort to establish yourself. Even if you’re looking to make some extra money besides your full-time work, proofreading can undoubtedly help you achieve those goals.

    I hope this ultimate guide and tools I mentioned will help you start proofreading as your new career! In this guide, I mentioned free resources, salary information, and job sites to get started with proofreading jobs. 

    Are you excited to become a proofreader and work in the comfort of your home? Leave a comment below and let me what you think.

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