If you are the type of person who gets incredibly frustrated with online writing – poor grammar, spelling mistakes and poor use of the English language, you may have found a great opportunity and an in demand freelance skill. The art of proofreading.
In its simplest form, a proof-reader is someone who looks for errors and mistake in a piece of written work.
If you have a good grasp of the English written language you could lend your talent into the field of proofreading and help critique and make perfect the work of others.
There is so much written content online now. Billions and billions of webpages with billions and billions of words. You may have noticed a considerable decline in the written word. Grammar has taken a backseat to text speak, who has jumped into the driving seat and tearing off furiously up the M1.
Content is added online quickly. Speed and efficiency become priority. If you read online news channels such as Yahoo News you will see almost daily a glaring number of spelling mistakes. Just forget about sentence structure in those types of artistic mediums where grammar is a poignant afterthought.
There are those were pride in appearance is important. Those channels produce content quickly and efficiently so they can be the first with breaking news and business updates.
It’s not just news channels and entertainment media companies that has resulted in the increase demand for proof-readers, small businesses with newsletters, publications and online blogs require help. For this type of company, impression can be the key to success.
How can I become a proof-reader
The ‘How to’ but is easy, and we will come on to this shortly. ‘Why’ you would want to become a proof-reader is also a question you should ask yourself. Is it a passion for English literature and the spoken word.
Whatever the reason you need to know you can comfortably proof-read for potentially a few hours per day if you want to make a living from this freelance choice.
As well as the ‘how to’ and the ‘why’, you also need to ask yourself ‘can I’ become proofreader.
Proofreading doesn’t require a qualification to practise in the UK. A college or University degree will definitely help sell your services to clients and may get your foot in the door, but it isn’t essential. You do though need a very good grasp of the English language. Perhaps you’re a writer looking to make an additional income, or maybe an English teacher who is looking for a side hustle at the weekends or during school holidays.
You are providing your English writing ability and grammatical skills as a service, so they need to be tip top.
If you are unsure if your skills are up to the task, or maybe self-doubt is creeping its ugly head from beneath the covers, you could try one of the various online proofreading tests.
An example is provided here from the Chapter House Proofreading Test
If your skills are sound, there’s no reason why you couldn’t get started today!
How can I make money as a proof-reader
Once you’ve made the decision to dust off your English skills and fight the battle to keep online content looking ship shape and Bristol fashion, you’ll need to find some clients – which of course is the very first step in making money online as a proof-reader.
You have a couple of options here:
- Build, or have built for you, your own website. You can advertise for clients on places like Google, Facebook and Twitter (Twitter being a potential candidate considering the written nature of the platform and your target audience);
- Use an online marketplace, set up a Proof-Reading service page and wait or bid for clients;
Let’s look at both options and the pros and cons of each:
Build your own website
- You are in control of how your website looks and how you write and market your pages and content;
- You can create articles and features that search engines can find, which can drive visitors to your website and services (this is known as SEO and SEM – Search Engine Optimisation and Search Engine Marketing)
- It can be costly to have a web designer build your site (for a small website such as this you would be looking at between £400-£600);
- If you design the website yourself to save costs it may not look as professional as your competitors, and could take you a lot of time to build;
- You have no audience when you launch, so you will have to pay to advertise your services which may not lead to a return on your advertising spend;
- Setup is quick and easy. You could setup a profile and account and start taking clients as early soon as today!
- It’s free to join and you only pay when you take on a client. The fee to the marketplace is usually around 20% of the value of the work you carry out;
- The marketplaces have spent millions of pounds on promotion, advertising and marketing – meaning they have a steady audience of clients looking for providers;
- Some services on marketplaces can be saturated, and some competitors launch in to bidding wars trying to undercut the others. Don’t be tempted in to a bidding war. Be competitive but know your own worth;
- You will have to give around 20% of your earnings to the marketplace as a commission for you using their services to find clients;
Where can I find clients for my proof reading services?
If you’ve decided not to go down the website building route you will need to look towards a marketplace such as Fiverr, Upwork and Freelancer.
There are lots of marketplaces out there. Some better than others, but for many of the articles on Money Boost we focus on these three as they are considered the most popular, and considering your goal is to find clients it’s a good place to start.
Here are the links to the main freelance marketplaces to get you started:
Remember though each service is different, and to use Freelance.co.uk you have to pay a small monthly fee.
Further information -> Top 4 Freelance Websites to Find Clients and Customers