Are you interested in becoming a freelance proofreader? Do you have skills in English (or any language) and have a critical eye for typos, grammatical errors, sentence structure etc? Then you might just have the potential to be a great freelance proofreader!
In this blog post, I will share with you how you can be a freelance proofreader and even work from home.
I’ve been working as a proofreader for three years now and thankfully, I have not had any problems getting clients. I will share with you the steps I did to establish my digital platform and presence. But before I dive into the technical aspect, these are the qualities that you will have as a freelance proofreader:
YOU HAVE TO BE GOOD AT LANGUAGE (ENGLISH OR BAHASA MALAYSIA)
If you have an eye for grammar, sentence structure and a good flow of ideas, then it means that you could be a good proofreader.
Here’s the thing: You don’t need to be the most amazing linguist or know all the grammatical rules, but you definitely need to be better at language than the average person.
When you decide to be a freelance proofreader and you are not sure about certain grammatical problems, you can always google it and find out.
Being a freelance proofreader means that you need to be disciplined. Always ask your client about the deadline. Make sure that they are realistic and that you can actually meet them.
Many students tend to ask for their papers or theses to be proofread or edited ASAP but if you can’t finish it within a certain timeframe, do not take those jobs. Remember, it’s better to overdeliver and NOT underdeliver.
Yes, being a freelancer proofreader may seem easy peasy but doing your own business has its risk. For anyone who is a freelancer, you know that if you don’t do the work then you don’t get paid. But doing something that you love is very rewarding, despite the deadlines and the late nights.
You got that right. I often had to work until late at night or wake up at 4 am to start work so that I can have several solid hours of work done. #momproblems
Apart from that, you must always persevere when you work as a freelance proofreader because sometimes, the clients that you work with may not be so easy to manage. You might often have tight deadlines and tough theses to work on. Sometimes, depending on whether you’re a mother who has kids at home, you might need to work during the weekend.
Whatever it is, you have to have grit and never give up.
1. CREATE A FACEBOOK PAGE FOR YOUR PROOFREADING SERVICES
If you are first starting out, I’d definitely recommend making a Facebook page first. It’s FREE and people often search on Facebook for things (weird). Sometimes they would ask their friends for recommendations and their friends could tag your account.
Facebook pages are also great because customers/clients can review your services. It provides a space for customer’s testimonials.
It is also a space where you can share useful content about your services.
2. KNOW WHAT KIND OF DOCUMENT/CONTENT YOU WANT TO PROOFREAD
As a freelance proofreader, you need to do know what kind of document or content you want to proofread.
For instance, there is a difference between academic and journalistic writing.
Make sure you know the difference because you’d need to help students or clients with the style of writing.
Apart from proofreading academic articles likes theses, journal articles and dissertations, you can also proofread blogposts and media articles.
3. DETERMINE WHETHER YOU WANT TO DO PROOFREADING OR EDITING
There’s a major difference between proofreading and editing. Editing requires much more work where you will need to make sure that the flow of ideas is coherent, the organization of ideas are logical and so on.
Be sure to ask your client what they expect and discuss whether you provide those services.
4. CREATE A WEBSITE FOR YOUR PROOFREADING BUSINESS
Besides a Facebook page, you should create your own website.
Why do I recommend this? Well, it’s because sometimes Facebook’s algorithm and layout changes which could impact your business. But when you have your own website, and a domain that is SEO friendly, people could easily google you and you might appear in their search.
I use WordPress because I think it’s pretty easy to use and it has many features that encourage you to strategize your posts.
Wix is also another webpage that you can use. There is a free version but features are limited.
5. CREATE HELPFUL AND MEANINGFUL CONTENT
If you’re just starting out as a freelance proofreader and you’ve had no experience whatsoever, you’d need to create and share meaningful and engaging content that would be useful for your potential clients.
Remember, content is king. Really think about the state and psychology of your clients and think about what it kind of information or services that they might need.
Once you’ve figured out about the content, share them on all of your social media platforms.
If you’re not good with designing, you can use free platforms like Canva.
6. PITCH OR SHARE WHAT YOU DO TO POSTGRADUATE GROUPS
If you have just finished your degree, masters or PhD and you are beginning to try to be a freelance proofreader, share your contact details or website details with your student group. You could also contact your lecturer at your department and other universities to ask if they ever need a proofreader to edit or proofread their students’ work.
Trust me, many PhD students and lecturers need a professional proofreader to help them.
Apart from approaching university departments, you can also approach online student groups and share with them about your services. There are many groups on Facebook.
7. ASK FOR A REFERRAL
This may be the last tip but I assure you, it is one of the most important ones. Once you’ve done your job (and if you do it well), ask for your client’s feedback. If they have glowing reviews, be sure to ask them if they could refer you to their friends and colleagues. Word of mouth is the best organic form of marketing.
If you ever do end up trying to be a freelance proofreader, drop a comment and let me know how it goes!