Have you been tossing around the idea of a job that can be as flexible as a rubber band or even as tight as a drum? Are you good with grammar? Do you take pride in that grammar police title of yours on social media?
I’m joking! I do not know many people take pride in being the grammar police, but still, they do see the error of others ways, or at least grammatically speaking.
If any of these apply to you, you may have a bright future within the world of proofreading. I know, it doesn’t sound like an actual job title in the typical business world with such a narrow scope, but believe it or not, there are always individuals and businesses alike who are looking for the right person to “proofread” their masterpieces, especially for online proofreading.
Proofreading with no experience or minimal experience is also a possibility. You don’t even have to have a degree. You just need the drive and the motivation to do it.
Obviously, you are on the right track since you are here with me learning about proofreading jobs (please don’t grammar spank me, my errors have many ways, and half the time, I don’t know which way I’m even headed! LOL)
Lets learn a few basics before we jump head first into the magical world of proofreading.
What is Proofreading?
Generally speaking, proofreading is the final stage of editing prior to releasing the wondrous works to the world, or to whomever the readers or target audience is anyway. I just like to make everything sound extra fabulous.
Proofreading is quite fabulous, though, and it is one of the greatest freelancing gigs as well.
The proofreaders job is to inspect the document and check for a wide array of grammatical errors. These errors or “teensy tiny mishaps” as I like to call them, include incorrect spelling, duplicate words, punctuation fallacies, fragmented sentences, improper subject-verb agreement, and the list can go on forever!
Don’t let all of the above listing of teensy tiny mishaps make you feel like crawling into your screw this shell and avoiding the world of proofreading. Even if you are not an expert at grammar, this is still a very viable option for beginners.
Have you ever heard the words “there’s an app for that?” Well, it is true! There is also an infinite number of software programs as well, and some of the greatest ones are even free to use!
I will be more than happy to discuss that with you shortly, but first, let’s get on with the basics.
There is another job similar to that of a proofreader, the copy editor, but it is much more involved. This may or may not be your cup of tea; however, it may be another viable work from home opportunity if it is something you would enjoy.
What is a Copy Editor?
The copy editor becomes a little more involved in the process of proofreading. They do more than just making sure that the author’s works are simply grammatically correct.
They dive into the actual literature to make it not only grammatically correct, but to also make it more cohesive, fluid, and readable or relatable, and all of this is dependent on the needs of the client and the topic.
One of the best and quickest ways to explain a copy editor was stated by The Balance in a post titled “What does a Copy Editor do.”
This job requires candidates to be able to perform duties that include the following:
- Proofread text and correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors
- Verify factual correctness of information, such as dates and statistics
- Check text for style, readability, and adherence to editorial policies
- Arrange page layouts of photos, articles, and advertisements
- Rewrite text to improve clarity and readability
That was just a very simplistic and understandable list I found; however, it can be more detailed depending upon the agreement between the client and copy writer.
Is Proofreading the Right Job for me?
This, my friends, is one of the most important questions to ask yourself. This is where your personal preference and motivation comes in.
Some people are born to be proofreaders, some people fall into it, and some people are looking for jobs that allow the flexibility to stay at home and work online.
As a writer, blogger, author, business woman, entrepreneur, or whatever you wish to call me, I stay super busy, and that is ONLY my side gig! My REAL job is so much more complex, and I am fairly certain that you already know what my real job is, especially if you share in the experience of my primary occupation.
My real job is being a wife, mom, housekeeper, chauffeur, chef, teacher, homework helper, snot wiper or dodger, depending on the day, diaper changer, tooshy wiper, event planner/coordinator, and… well, realistically I don’t have the space to list all my primary duties here, you and I both know that that the internet would totally crash into a black abyss if we tried!
So, with that being said, when I write, I don’t always have the time in between snot dodging to proofread my work and make sure the periods or commas are in the wright location (did you see that? YES! I did that “right” there on purpose) or to even make sure my spelling is top notch.
I know for a fact that I am not the only person or business out there that needs a check and recheck. What is the world of writing going to do?!?
ENTER the PROOFREADER, or as I call them, the Magician!
They waltz right in and start sprinkling fairy dust everywhere and make everything grammatically correct with spelling, punctuation, structure, and most importantly, they make me look FAN.FREAKIN.TASTIC, and I do enjoy looking scholarly without my glasses on.
Yes, I know FAN.FREAKIN.TASTIC isn’t a word or correct, but again, I enjoy making things sound extra fabulous!
No grammar spanking allowed here! It is quite likely I was dodging a high energy little girl drenched in mud who just so happened to splatter muddy handprints all over my white front door while trying to work.
So, anyway, if being a grammatical magician is a top priority of yours and if working at home as a proofreader or becoming a freelance proofreader would work within your schedule, whether or not it looks like mine above, read on, my friend, you may very well be quite suited for this gig.
Does working on your own with no external motivation suit you?
Let’s just get this out of the way, right out of the gate, are you self motivated? If not, becoming a proofreader, at least in the online realm, may not be for you. You; however, may have the skills needed within an office setting with more external motivation, though.
I will never say never though, there are those who can create the motivation they need regardless of being innately non-self motivated.
If you are self motivated, congratulations, at least for the online realm of freelance proofreading you are already on the right track.
Self motivation is just one piece of the puzzle, do you manage your time well? If you are not a time management guru, it does not necessarily work in your favor for working at home.
This does not mean that you could never partake in online proofreading jobs, but it would mean you need to be cautious and use tools at your disposal to manage your time, such as alarm clocks, an actual handwritten schedule to do daily tasks in addition to work tasks.
Sometimes I think it’s normal for everyone to be a little oblivious to time, especially when working at home and it is already a busy day with all the household nuances that seem to pop up. Some of the things I use to help me with managing my time are:
- Chalkboard or white board
- This is one of my favorites because it is out in plain view (at least to me and my family) therefore it helps me remember when I walk by or I can check it out without pulling out my phone to constantly check
- Alarm clocks
- Yes, that seems simple enough, right? This is good if you just need a quick reminder of what time it is and you must do something specific at that time without remembering any extra details, unless you are a person who remembers exact details, in which, good for you! When can you follow me around and remind me of all the stuff that I constantly forget? LOL
- Applications and Technology
- Don’t forget your phone! Most phones have a standard calendar that will allow you to insert meetings or obligations at a specific time. I have several calendars on my phone and in different colors to correlate to whether it’s family, work, or medical/etc.
- If you have one of those handy dandy watches that connects to your phone and does more than log steps, use it! Most have notification settings that allow an audio or vibration notice at specific times
- Applications such as: Be Focused, this one allows you to manage time and set timers to work on specific tasks, this is one of my favorites, there’s also Reminders (some phones have this preinstalled), this one notifies me certain things soon as I return home if I ask it to!), Chaos Control, and many more. Just do a quick search for productivity or time management in your google play store or app store
Not only is time management important, but it is also important to be organized and structured. Again, none of these will give you a gigantic X on your hopes and dreams of being a stay at home proofreader or online guru proofreader, but it is important to know this before venturing into the world of proofreading jobs.
Some of these issues, if you have them, again, can be assisted by utilizing apps, hand written schedules, alarms, etc.
Can you handle working from home versus in an office setting?
Be TOTALLY honest with yourself here. I know if I don’t have someone to watch my littles while I am working at home, it is inevitable that I hear crashing sounds, blood curdling screams, and fighting over stuff they have never played with or have ever had any desire to play with UNTIL “Mommy has to work.” Obviously there is so much more that goes on, but every child is different and every home is different.
Also consider if your significant other works at home as well. Is there sufficient room to work at home or even in the same area? Is it feasible?
My husband does a LOT of work at home, and I can not stand to try to talk on the phone when he is on the phone. No matter if I try to go into another room or onto the dang roof, I can still hear him talking.
It’s like he gets louder and louder. I think of it like having another 5 year old and a power battle over bed time, except it is a battle of who can make who get off the phone the quickest.
Not only do you have to take into consideration distractions from family, but also your neighbors or even your neighborhood. I know some neighborhoods are loud and some neighbors are even louder. At one point when I still lived in an apartment, I swear the dude upstairs was conducting daily line dancing classes!
Working in an office environment may be easier for some due to the more strict office hours, having closer monitoring of productivity, or even having some much needed distance from those distractions that you love with all your might, but makes it impossible to concentrate.
Regardless of what you prefer, working from home has some serious benefits, if you are able to pull it off without constant distractions or lack of motivation/procrastination.
Pros and Cons of Proofreading
There are pros and cons to every job out there. This particular job has many pros and cons to check out and list. So let’s get looking!
Keep in mind, this is a general list, not everything will or will not apply to you!
Of course you know me, I want to start with the WONDERFUL stuff, so here we go.
- Traveling to and from the office could be a thing of the past!
- Can we say “saving money on gas!” Cha Ching!
- For those with long commutes and a stressful drive, yes, I am talking to you, can you hear the angels singing yet?
- You have more flexibility with the jobs you decide to take on when freelancing
- You can put your family first
- This is where time management becomes key, but seriously, ever get sick of missing your kids games or missing events with friends or family?
- You don’t have to spend a ton of money to begin this journey!
- You do not have to have a high speed internet connection nor do you have to spend a ton of money on equipment.
- If you have a basic computer, or even tablet, you can get started almost immediately.
- You do not have to have a college degree or have a certificate of any sort
- Granted, sometimes this makes you more appealing to potential clients, but if you put in the work to build a great portfolio, it will not matter unless you would like to work for certain companies that have degree or certification requirements.
- There are plenty of resources out there to help you learn to proofread like a pro.
- In job terms versus dating terms, “there are plenty of fish in the sea”
- There are so many platforms to search for jobs or to be considered for jobs for proofreading, you will be able to work and build your reputation up in no time.
- With online proofreading jobs, you can literally sit on the beach or in the mountains and read and proof to your heart’s content!
- You must put in the effort to become a professional at proofreading
- You must market yourself and work to get your portfolio up to par.
- You may have to learn new things
- Even though you do not have to have that degree, you may need to learn more about different writing styles and formatting (such as MLA or APA)
- It is not necessary to have high speed internet, but it is necessary to have internet.
- You must have some form of equipment to do the work.
- Again, it can be a basic computer or tablet, but you must have something to get the work done.
- If you need external motivation to get things done, you are on your own.
- Deadlines may be very short so a career in proofreading is not always less stress
What Does Proofreading Pay
This can vary person to person and will always be dependent upon skills, ability, experience, amount of work, how quickly you proofread, and the list can go on and on.
In general; however, proofreading skills rake in an average of about $45,000 a year, per Glassdoor. Wages can range from the nine dollar an hour range and even up to the thirty-six dollar an hour range. The range is highly dependent upon certain factors as well, especially when it comes to marketing oneself.
Is there Training and Help for Proofreading?
Yes, yes, and yes again! There is an infaniant amount of training and assistance for proofreading. There are even free online classes. One of the best things I can recommend for individuals that seems to always be overlooked is their local public library!
Why people overlook their public library is beyond me, but it is often the “Oh, why didn’t I think of them” afterthought. I absolutely hate spending money that I don’t have to, heck, I hate spending money that absolutely have to, but I am proud to say that I do love finding useful freebies.
For instance, my local public library offers not only free borrowing of books on whatever suits your fancy, they also offer free use of certain apps (my favorite is the audio and e-book app, HOOPLA), programs, and even classes.
The sheer number of classes and diversity of classes that are offered through the company they use is astonishing. There are classes on proofreading, photography, writing, spanish, medically related classes, and much more.
Is there online assistance for grammar?
Of course, there is much more than I can mention within this short article.
If you have access to Word, it will do basic checks, as will Pages for Mac. If you are looking for something a bit different and not necessarily a word processor linked to an operating system, keep reading.
Applications and programs that can make a difference:
I will only mention a few, but please keep in mind that with the “world wide web,” (if anyone even calls it that anymore, ha) you are able to search for apps and programs to your heart’s content!
- Grammarly – I am quite partial to Grammarly due to actually seeing a difference in how some of my friends write. I can honestly say that it indeed makes a huge difference.
- There is a free version which covers most aspects of basic grammar, but if you would like to go even further to detect plagiarism and other perks, there is a paid version that can help you with that.
- GoogleDocs – This is also a program that I am slowly growing to love. I think with anything, there is a learning curve, and once you get the hang of it, things tend to flow.
- GoogleDocs not only does the basic grammatical checks, but it has outline features (which is nice when you are trying to locate specific sections of large documents), or even when you are composing one of your own documents. It also has a share feature and within that it allows you to share or lock editing rights.
- Online Correction – This is a totally free site.
- It will check for basic grammatical errors and you can also choose the dialect you wish it to use when checking.
Where do I Find Proofreading Jobs?
When searching for online proofreading jobs, whether it be freelance or full time, there is a large availability of options. There are many companies and apps that allow you to not only market the services you offer, but also allow you to search for jobs you would like to have.
What are some of the companies and applications?
- FIVERR – If you are a beginner looking to strengthen your portfolio and gain experience, this app is for you.
- Spend some time looking at the marketing others have done, the legitimate ones, not the few crazy ones you may scroll past. Make sure you remain competitive with your pricing for your services. It may not look like you will be rolling in the dough, but it is important that you get some experience.
- UpWork – Upwork is great for beginners and is also a great site where the clients can give visible feedback so you can build up your reputation as a freelance proofreader. Again, gander the way other freelancers market themselves and pay attention to their stats as it correlates, it may help you up your game.
- Guru – Is a simplistic freelancer site where you can search for and apply for proofreading jobs as well.
- Craigslist – I mean, does this really need any explanation? This may be a shocker, but you can find some decent gigs this way. It allows both parties to avoid the rigamorow or even extra fees some apps can create, just don’t pay them to work for them, that defeats the purpose and screams scammer.
- Freelancer – Similar to the others, Freelancer allows the opportunity for you to search for proofreading jobs, show interest via a proposal and communicate directly with the client.
- Wordvice – This one is for the more experienced proofreaders and editors and the company requires an entry test, so to speak, prior to accepting you for any services. They also prefer an advanced degree.
There are so many more companies out there that you can use to get proofreading jobs that would suit you. Just remember to always read the fine print. The company has to make a profit somehow and it is always important to see if and what they take percentage wise.
It is also important to not pay people to get the jobs, the entire plan is to get “paid” not pay them.
Where do you Stand?
Now that you have had some time to check out all the different aspects of becoming a proofreading magician, is it something you would like or enjoy doing?
I know, sometimes it takes a leap of faith to get started and take the plunge, but if this is a job you want, I KNOW you can do it! I have so much faith in you and I know you will do excellent!
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start proofreading some papers, essays, journals, books, or whatever suits your fancy!
Just please, don’t proofread mine! I’ve seriously had a crazy long day, errr year!
Happy proofing, friends!