Being a freelance proofreader may be an ideal profession for someone who wants to work their own hours from home. Proofreading jobs are fairly easy to find and don't require any initial financial investment, which makes being a freelance editor a relatively easy way to be your own boss. If you think being a freelance proofreader may be an ideal job, here are some tips that may help you get started in the business.
Tip 1: Know Your Strengths
To be a proofreader, you should first have a very strong grasp of the English language. Ideally, you should be able to read quickly through a page of writing, and pick out all the mistakes as you go (you shouldn't have to double check every word and use of punctuation). A good proofreader will have an intuitive ability to spot mistakes and will put that ability to full advantage. This isn't to say that you can't be a proofreader if you have to work more methodically, but since you will likely be paid on a per-job basis, you'll want to be able to work as quickly as possible.
Tip 2: Know Style Types
The English language is continually evolving, and many different "proper" styles of writing exist. You should have a thorough knowledge of all different sorts of styles and be able to edit accordingly. When editing, you might encounter everything from academic papers written in MLA or APA formats to screenplays jammed with slang and phonetic pronunciations meant to simulate accents when read. It's your job as an editor to know when slang or intentional "errors" are appropriate. You'll also need to be careful to not eliminate the writer's personal writing style.
Tip 3: Network
Once you have the proofreading skill down, you have to find clients. A great way to start finding work is to network on the Internet, as this can be done from home and with no cost (aside from your time). To start, try joining sites such as:
These sites can put you in touch with people who need work done and with a community of other freelance proofreaders. These people can be friends, mentors or simply competition for you to beat; the choice is yours. Using these sites can help you find jobs and begin building your portfolio.
Tip 4: Advertise
If simple networking isn't getting you all the work you desire, try advertising your services a different way. Set up a website; you can build it yourself or hire a web designer, and pay for PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising. This will help drive potential customers to your website. If your site is properly built, it should be simple, engaging and easily navigated. Users should be easily able to locate your services, pricing, portfolio and contact information, and customers should retain interest and eventually pay for your services.
Following these 4 tips can help you begin finding work as a freelance proofreader.