How to Become a Proofreader (& Make $4,000/m)

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Have you ever thought that you could become a proofreader and make money from home?

Yes!

*This post may contain affiliate links at no extra cost to you. See disclosure for details.

If you frequently catch yourself cringing at misspelled words and typos on your friends’ Facebook posts, or vexed at the several typos in your child’s workbook that you paid for, here’s good news. It’s a good sign!

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You’ve got a great work from home job on your hand mama! You can get paid to be a so-called “grammar nazi”!

Bloggers, editors, writers, all the people in the writing business, we need proofreaders to put that final shine on our writing drafts so that we can come off as smart and professional all the time ;).

I just found out about this lucrative and well sought after work from home job for moms and I couldn’t resist bringing over a professional who has been in the proofreading business for over 7 years to answer your questions on what it is and how to get started.

Caitlin Pyle (pictured below) is the creator of the very famous Proofread Anywhere course. Yep, that self-made millionaire that’s been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, and the likes. AND, she’s still very much an active proofreader herself.

caitlin pyle, teacher of become a proofreader

I’m kind of nervous to publish this knowing that she’ll be reading it haha!

Anyway, Caitlin very kindly agreed to answer my questions about proofreading and it was eye-opening, to say the least. Kick back in your seat and follow along will you?

Hi Caitlin! Thanks so much for agreeing to chat. Let’s start with a look into your background and how you got started as a proofreader. Tell us please, what motivated you to become a proofreader?

My passion for proofreading started when I studied abroad in Germany for a year in college and would help students proofread their college essays. I loved using my grammar talent to catch errors and help others turn their writing into masterpieces.

That love for proofreading continued to grow. I took my general proofreading skills to the next level when I got into proofreading transcripts for court reporters back in 2012. I was so good at spotting errors, I became known as “Eagle Eyes.” In fact, proofreading transcripts became my primary source of income in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Because I was so passionate about proofreading, I started ProofreadAnywhere.com as a blog back in 2014, and it’s exploded since then. 

Editor’s Note: Caitlin is holding a FREE webinar where she teaches you how to become a successful proofreader like herself. Click here to save your spot now.

And how has that paid off for you? Very well?

As a proofreader, I was making up to $4,000 a month! I had many loyal clients and I finally loved the work I was doing.

I had never enjoyed working a normal 9-to-5 job so this was a perfect fit for me as it gave me the freedom to work my own hours, take vacations when I want (or even work while traveling!), and choose my own clients. 

That’s really interesting, can you tell us how proofreading works exactly?

Proofreading often gets confused with copyediting so I like to first describe it by explaining what it is not.

Proofreading is not rewriting sentences, making comments about sentence structure or word choices, moving paragraphs around, or fact-checking.

If anyone has ever approached a proofreader and asked them to make their family Christmas letter “sound better,” they’re barking up the wrong tree.

In contrast, a proofreader is the last set of eyes to look at a draft before publication. They look for punctuation mistakes, misspelled words, lack of consistency, and formatting errors.

Proofreaders are important to many types of clients. My first course, Transcript Proofreading, specifically teaches proofreaders how to proofread legal transcripts.

Court reporters have tons of transcripts that they work on and need a final set of eyes to look it over before they submit it to the judge, lawyers, or anyone else who needs to access it. Typos or incorrect information can make a big difference when it comes to legal documents. 

My other course, General Proofreading, teaches proofreaders how to proofread from a much broader perspective. It could be books, articles, student papers, medical documents, blog posts, emails… you name it. And anyone who is publishing these documents will want someone to look them over to make sure there aren’t any mistakes.

If you had to say, is proofreading hard? Especially if you have no experience. Also, are there any cons?

To say if proofreading is hard or not hard isn’t truly something I can’t answer with a yes or no.

Is it challenging at times?

Of course!

Do you need to have the right skills to do it, as well as the skill of attention to detail?

Absolutely.

But that can be said of any career out there. You will need to acquire the right skills to be able to be successful at it!

The “cons” of this job are that you will need to work hard — hustle! But isn’t that true of any job? You will also have to get used to putting yourself out there to find clients. Sometimes it will be hard to find clients — you may even experience rejection — but what you will gain will make it all worth it!

So for stay at home moms, what would you say is the best reason to become a proofreader?

While I am not a stay-at-home mom myself, I have virtual assistants who work for me who are SAHMs and many students in the same boat as well. They all say how much they love the freedom of being available to their kids while also having a career.

Childcare costs continue to go up so to make an income without having half of your paycheck go toward a sitter is a huge plus!

And for moms who want to start offering proofreading services, what skills do they typically need?

I’d sum this up into three main skills: You must have eagle eyes for errors, know grammar and spelling, and be flexible. If anything is lacking in these three areas you could be setting yourself up for failure.

One question lots of moms ask is how much proofreaders earn, especially for beginners. Can you give us an estimate to go by?

While transcript proofreaders are paid per page, and the rate varies depending on the turnaround, general proofreaders can negotiate a rate per page or per project, so it definitely varies. 

The amount of time and effort you put into this, along with the quality of the service you provide your clients, is directly linked to the amount of money you can make. And that’s why it’s hard to put a definite number on how much you can make.

All that being said, I can give you a very, VERY general idea of what you can earn proofreading a book. This is from my good friend Chandler over at Self-Publishing School. For a nonfiction novel that’s anywhere from 15,000 – 35,000 words, a proofreader can earn between $100 – $500 for that project. Yes, that’s a bit of a range, but it gives you some idea as to what to expect for that particular type of project.

So how can one start making money as a proofreader with no experience?

The first step is to learn the skills.

You can’t make money as a proofreader if you don’t learn how to proofread. That’s why I started my course Proofread Anywhere — to teach others how to do what I had been successfully doing!

Any more tips you would like to share?

The biggest thing I could share is to get out of your own head and focus on who you are helping instead of your own problems.

I know it’s kind of difficult if you’re drowning, so the first thing would be to stop drowning and then focus on solving problems.

work at home book image
FREE GIFT from Caitlin

You can read more about my journey from working for someone else to building my own company in my book Work At Home

I’m actually giving it away for free — I just ask you cover shipping and handling. 

You can get it here. 

Finally, I know people swear by your courses. Can you tell us a bit more about them, who it’s for, what you teach and maybe a few success stories too.

My proofreading courses are for anyone who is looking for work-at-home freedom and wishes to use their passion for reading to do that.

As I mentioned before, Transcript Proofreading specifically teaches proofreaders how to proofread legal transcripts, while General Proofreading is a bit more — well — General. 🙂 

Click here to sign up for free training here!

I have more student success stories than I can count and I love every single one, but I think a few of these will resonate with you as stay-at-home moms!

Thank you so much, Caitlin, for your time, it’s been a real pleasure having you around.

I hope you’ve learned as much as I did from her.

Remember that you can get Caitlin’s book for free here (only pay for shipping), and you can sign up for her free webinar and learn more about proofreading and how to get started here.

Please pin this post. Good luck!

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I find shortcuts to building a thriving online business that merges beautifully with creating a life you love and share them with you. Need guided help to find your place online? Start here.
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