By Holly Reisem Hanna
Are you a stickler for grammar? Do you pick out typos when you read publications?
If you’re great at editing and catching grammatical mistakes and inconsistencies, a work-from-home proofreading job may be a great fit for you. Not only that, Proofreaders are in high demand, particularly for online businesses. And because you can proofread from practically any location, it’s a great option for making money from home. In many cases, proofreaders can even set their own hours and work at their own pace.
If this sounds like your calling, here's what you need to know about making money from home proofreading.
What’s the Difference Between Proofreading and Editing?
Proofreaders and editors are often thought of as interchangeable, but there are specific differences between the two roles. Proofreading primarily focuses on catching errors in grammar, spelling, syntax, and formatting. Proofreaders review material right before the material goes to publication.
On the other hand, editors may go through the information and reorder and organize it. They may change or strike out material completely, check research, and change the tone or voice to better meet the audience. Editors and writers may work back and forth through several revisions.
While editors also proofread, proofreaders aren’t necessarily considered editors. Both roles are professional and skilled, but proofreading doesn’t require as much in-depth examination of the material.
Proofreading jobs are plentiful, particularly in the business world and in the world of online content. Many companies, writers, and bloggers are looking for a careful eye to review their material and catch any obvious errors.
How Much Do Proofreaders Earn?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Proofreaders earn around $36,960 on average for full-time work. The pay and amount of work varies by the proofreader’s availability and workload. A busy proofreader who can maintain several consistent clients may earn more, whereas someone who’s simply looking for opportunities in their free time will earn less.
How Do You Train to Become a Proofreader?
While many proofreading jobs don’t require a formal training, it certainly doesn’t hurt to brush up your skills (especially if it’s been a while since you cracked an English or grammar textbook). Check out this great free training course for proofreaders from Proofread Anywhere if you’re interested in learning more about the industry.
This free proofreading course can also help you learn how to find clients and promote your freelance proofreading business.
If you’re particularly skilled or experienced in an area such as the medical or legal industry, you can zero in on your area of expertise. Caitlin Pyle, a professional legal transcript proofreader explains that while she didn’t have a degree or certification in proofreading (because there isn’t one!), she approached the industry with her own knowledge of proofreading and entrepreneurship. She suggests that prospective proofreaders should be self-motivated, flexible, and possess an “eagle eye” for details and grammar.
Where Can You Find Proofreading Jobs?
There are many great resources if you’re looking for freelance proofreading jobs. Here are a few to start with:
EditFast is a proofreading service where patrons can submit their documents online for proofing. EditFast serves as a platform to connect clients with proofreaders. Potential proofreaders must submit a resume and complete several editing tests. They must submit their resume with the Resume Builder, complete EditFast’s editing tests, create their own page through the EditFast Web Page Builder, and submit a non-disclosure agreement. Once approved, they will receive notifications regarding potential projects. It’s recommended proofreaders have professional editing experience, specialized knowledge in a specific field such as medical, technical or literature, and a strong familiarity with the English language. EditFast pays 40% of the project price to the proofreader, so rates vary by project.
FlexJobs lists a bunch of proofreading opportunities from around the United States. FlexJobs is a telecommuting job board that hosts a variety of positions. The nature, availability, and requirements for each position will vary by the assignment and the company. Some proofreading jobs require high skill levels in specific areas such as healthcare, chemistry, and manufacturing. Other positions are more general and require less experience. With FlexJobs, it’s easy to view a variety of positions to assess what you’re best qualified for, and they hand-screen all companies so you can rest assured every single one is legit.
Gramlee is an editing and proofreading company. They offer services for many different writing projects such as dissertations, essays, novels, whitepapers, and more. They offer grammar checks, copyediting, APA editing, and proofreading services. Contractors must complete an application that includes a background check and assessment. Documents are confidential and secure. Proofreaders are expected to turn documents around within 24 hours during the week (but can set their own hours). Gramlee pays between $12 and $20 per hour, depending on your productivity rate.
Kelly Services offers a wide range of temporary and temp-to-hire consulting jobs. Their virtual jobs include proofreading services for a variety of industries and businesses. Kelly Services is one of the oldest employment agencies; they’ve been in business for over 70 years. They are reliable and easy to work with, even offering mobile job search and access. Listings will vary based on skills, experience and the nature of the position. Proofreaders can find virtual work throughout the U.S. at Kelly Services.
Kibin is a smaller company and the availability of their positions can vary. Their services are focused on copyediting, proofreading and grammar checks. They work with many students and scholarly organizations to help with essays, applications, and dissertations. Kibin has a great online library of essay samples to help students start brainstorming ideas and work through sticking points. They offer a fast turnaround time and employees can work from home. Kibin pays proofreaders per word, but also includes bonuses for deadlines and customer satisfaction. On average, editors and proofreaders earn $15-$25 hour but many can earn up to $30 per hour consistently.
Offering competitive pay and flexible hours, ProofreadingServices.com works with a variety of clients around the globe. ProofreadingServices.com contractors go through a testing process when they apply to show their proofreading skills and abilities. The screening process is rigorous and they hire approximately one in 300 applicants. They also offer several resources including a guide to help you search for work-at-home proofreading jobs.
Scribendi is a proofreading and editing company based in Ontario, Canada. They offer both in-house and telecommuting opportunities. Proofreaders and editors are encouraged to have a college degree in a related field, three years of experience in writing, editing or language instruction, and native-level English abilities. Scribendi offers freelancers free training and incentives redeemable at online retailers. Freelancers must pass a screening test and complete an application process. The pay varies by project but it’s competitive, and each project’s priced out upfront.
Upwork offers a variety of freelance projects including proofreading and editing. Once you complete your profile on the site, you’re paired with your ideal jobs. You can also search through clients and respond to client invitations directly. As you are more and more successful, you’re recommended to more clients for additional work. After creating a profile, you’ll send potential clients proposals highlighting your strengths and including why you’re the best fit for the job. Rates vary by project and client and the rates are disclosed up front. Some projects are hourly and others offer a fixed price.
Wordvice operates in six countries, servicing universities, medical institutions, and laboratories. They hire freelance editors, content managers, web developers, marketers and project managers. Editors and proofreaders review research and academic writing submissions, admissions and scholarship essays, and other academic papers. Candidates for editing positions must display native fluency in English, be enrolled in or have completed a graduate degree program, and have a minimum of two years editing experience. Pay is commensurate with experience, projects, and knowledge-level of the specific topic.
How Do I Start My Own Freelance Proofreading Business?
Starting your own proofreading business gives you the option to work the hours of your choosing, set your own rates, and work completely home-based (if you prefer). You don’t need formal training if you start your own business. You can grow with your clients and even offer additional services based on your skills and experience.
While keeping up with deadlines and building up your client base are challenges, there are plenty of resources to help you get started with your own freelance proofreading business. The Editorial Freelancers Association is a professional group offering job listings and client assistance. This group and others are great resources for those starting out on their own in the world of proofreading.
Freelance proofreading is a wonderful opportunity for a work-at-home job. If you enjoy correcting grammar, have an eye for detail, and a good grasp of the English language, check out freelance proofreading!
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