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Self-Employment Opportunity: Freelance Proofreader


You can launch your aspiring writing career by becoming a freelance proofreader. This is a great way to pay the bills while you're writing your novel or other information products. You may even desire to stick to proofreading exclusively. Whatever your reason, it's a self-employment opportunity that can get you working from home full-time.

What is a Freelance Proofreader?

Before something gets published, it needs to be looked over for grammatical and spelling errors. That's the job of a freelance proofreader. Publishers, individuals, business owners and organizations rely on them to spot the slightest mistake so that it can get corrected. This includes formatting errors, such as poor word breaks or incorrect page numbers. A proofreader is not a copy editor, who proofreads but also works on the tone, structure and other writing issues.

Education and Skills

You need to have a Bachelor's degree in English if you want a job as a freelance proofreader. You can also become a certified proofreader by taking a training course or program and passing the necessary exams through various editor's associations, local colleges and distance learning programs. You also need to familiarize yourself with and practice using various ways to mark-up a copy. Each publisher prefers a different style, such as the Chicago Manual of Style or the Associated Press Stylebook.The most important skill you'll need to possess is the uncanny ability to pay attention to details. That's what you're getting paid to do.


The pay for a freelance proofreader varies and is dependent upon the type of publication or material you're proofreading, the publishers and the volume of work. You can get paid on a per page basis of $1 to $2 per page. You can get paid per article, ranging from $2 to $10 per article. Hourly rates range from $20 to $45 per hour depending on your years of experience. When you're first starting out, you may only get low paying, small jobs. However, once you build up your resume, you can secure higher paying work. 

Where to Find Freelance Work

Google "freelance proofreading jobs," and you'll find several thousand websites posting freelance work for proofreaders. There are websites that specialize in freelance writing, such as Elance or others that post general freelance work. You can also be proactive and contact the publishers of the print materials you receive in the mail, get free at the supermarket or those you purchase locally. You can offer your services as a proofreader to them. In fact, if you find errors in those publications, notate them and send it to them with your business cards. You should also network with web administrators, book publishers, newspaper and magazine editors, and the public relations and marketing staff at colleges and universities. You should even target your volunteering to proofreading work, because it could lead to freelance work.

Becoming a freelance proofreader is hard work. It takes a lot of effort and applying for jobs to eventually get to the point where you can earn a full-time income. However, you can do it if you're willing to be diligent and put in the time to get the experience and contacts you need.


Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.

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