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Four Mistakes a New Freelance Proofreader Should Avoid


A job as a freelance proofreader can be a convenient at-home source of income for anyone who wishes to work as an independent contractor. If you know where to work, it's easy to find proofreading jobs that pay decently, even as a beginning proofreader. However, making some of these common mistakes can prevent you from working efficiently or even finding jobs at all. Make sure you know how to avoid the following mistakes in order to achieve success as a freelance proofreader.

Mistake 1: Not Networking

Networking online is the easiest way to find freelance proofreading jobs. You should consider joining the following sites:



These websites will all connect you to an online community of editors, writers and potential clients. You can use the forums to seek advice from more experienced proofreaders, and you can use the job finding services to land some gigs. These sites can land you some quick jobs for easy income with little investment. As you continue proofreading, you can make yourself known on these websites to freelancers and clients alike and score bigger and better jobs.

Mistake 2: Not Keeping Track of Past Work

Every time you complete a job, you should make a note of it. If your work will be published, find out where it will be. If you complete relatively large jobs for clients and they're happy with your work, ask them if you can get a testimonial or use them as a reference. Keeping track of the work you finish can help you build a portfolio and resume, gradually making you better known within the proofreading community (and making you more desirable as an editor).

Mistake 3: Getting Distracted

If you're working on your computer, it's very easy to be distracted, whether it be with online shopping, checking the news or involvement with any number of other websites. If you're easily distracted by the lure of easy entertainment offered by the Internet, take steps to control that distraction. Set aside time blocks in which you commit to focus on working, and during this time, unplug your computer from the Internet. Not having easy access to your favorite sites can help you stay on track and get your work done faster.

Mistake 4: Ignoring Style Considerations

When proofreading, it is important to consider 2 things: the style and tone which the document falls under, and the personal style of the author. As a proofreader, you need to have a strong understanding of all different kinds of formats: APA, MLA, technical, conversational and so on. In an academic paper, slang and contractions are generally unacceptable; in a more informal setting, they may be just fine. When the author is creating dialogue, intentional misspellings meant to convey an accent may be used and should not be changed. Also, matters such as comma placement are often subjective. You should know how to correct mistakes, while still maintaining the original integrity of the author's intent.

Avoiding these 4 mistakes will help you grow as a freelance proofreader.

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