How To Become a Proofreader and Make Money Online

how to become a proofreader

One of the biggest perks of being a proofreader is that you can do it remotely online from anywhere. To get started as a proofreader, you have to be good with language, grammar, punctuation, and reading lots of content.

If you naturally enjoy reading content, proofreading will actually be a very easy way for you to make money online.

In this article, I want to show you exactly how to get started and what is required for being a proofreader.

Let’s get started.

First and Foremost: Proofreader Skills and Requirements

The skills and requirements for becoming a proofreader are pretty straightforward.

No formal education is required.

Just be skilled at the language you want to specialize in. If you want to maximize your earnings, it’s highly recommended that you have a knowledge of a certain industry and then proofread content for that industry.

If you specialize your proofreading skills around a certain type of content, you can also make more money.

From books to websites, here’s a full list of all the different types of proofreading work you will find.

  • Nonfiction and Fiction books
  • Essays
  • Websites and Blog Articles
  • Resumes
  • Advertising and Marketing Copy 
  • Email Newsletters 
  • Grant Proposals 
  • Academic Papers 
  • Fact-checking Op-eds 
  • Business Plans 
  • Speeches and Presentations 
  • Press Releases
  • Expert and Featured Articles

After you decide on the type of content you want to do proofreading for, there are other obvious requirements you’ll need to have. Such as having a computer, an internet connection, and the love to read various types of content.

You’ll also need to understand writing and formatting styles.

It’s important to keep up with current trends in various writing styles for the industry you are specializing in. In addition, you’ll need to keep up with various formatting trends for the type of content you are working with.

To find more formal information on writing and formatting styles, check out these guides here:

APA Style – A standard for effective scholarly communication to readers which is referenced all around the world.

MLA – Is an organization with over 25,000 members, they produce a handbook that talks about styling for research and scholarly writing. Members include professors, college graduates, and scholars.

Chicago Manual of Style Online – For bibliography and citation guidelines, the Chicago Manual of Style is a big help for anyone who is writing research papers, etc.

Associated Press Stylebook – The AP Style book shares vital information for styling articles for sports, business, data journalism, health, science, pools, surveys, and inclusive storytelling. 

Using the above references, it will help you be a much better proofreader.

Please note: For most types of writing online, such as blog articles you may not need to study a lot from the guides mentioned above.

When I started getting into writing and proofreading my own finance articles online, I spent a lot of time reading finance articles from different websites to get a feel for how each article was laid out for headers, paragraphs, subtitles, and length.

After reading a lot of articles, the formatting and styling of finance articles are like second nature to me now.

And because I’m constantly writing anyways, I just keep up with all the standards and styling for my type of writing by just doing it.

Make Sure You Understand Your Role as a Proofreader

As a proofreader, remember that you are not an editor! You are only making suggestions for improving how the content reads to a human.

This includes fixing grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes, nothing more, nothing less.

If you are proofreading a book and think the story is no good or a certain character needs to go a different direction in the storyline, you’ll have to keep that feedback to yourself.

The same is true for business articles, opinion pieces, and any other essays or research papers you review.

It’s good to also not get too emotionally involved in the work you are proofreading, this will only slow you down and cause you to earn less money per hour.

How Much Do Proofreaders Make

The pay for a proofreader has a wide range depending on your experience and the type of proofreading you decide to do. 

The median pay starts around 50k per year and can go over 100k for those specialized in a high-paying industry such as Medical, Science, Finance, or Technology.

To see some complete salary and pay ranges, check out these two references from Glassdoor and Indeed.

The location of where you live and work will also greatly have an impact on how much money you will make.

All in all, you can expect to make 25 to 50 dollars per hour as a W2 and more if you are a freelancer who can set their own rates.

Best Ways To Find Proofreading Work (Jobs and Freelance Work)

There are a lot of ways to find proofreading work. Whether you are looking for a full-time job or freelance work, you’ll have an abundance of opportunities.

To start out, check the following websites which are known to have listings for proofreading gigs and long-term work.

Upwork – A freelancing platform loaded with jobs for writing, editing, and proofreading.

Fiverr – Is great for creating gigs that advertise your proofreading services.

Flexjobs – A job website for remote work, and you guessed it, proofreading is a popular job category for remote work.

Contena – A great site to get hired through for doing long-term proofreading work for a company.

Edit 911 – Is an editing and proofreading service based out of Florida.

Craigslist – Has a jobs classifieds section full of listings for proofreading. They have a Gigs section too.

Indeed – I mentioned Indeed earlier, it’s a large job site with tons of proofreading jobs.

Glassdoor – I mentioned Glassdoor earlier too, a large job site that also has company reviews.

Proofreading Services – Proofreading Services provides online services for editing and proofreading (as the name implies.)

Gramlee – Is an online editing service that needs help and hires proofreaders.

Don’t Forget About Google Search

Don’t forget about Google Search, if you type in related keywords for the type of proofreading opportunity you are looking for, you’ll almost be guaranteed to find a ton of listings to apply to.

Apply Directly To Book Publishing Houses

If you target book publishing houses, you could land a proofreading job reading books. You can find publishing houses on the job sites mentioned above or by doing a search on Google.

Maximize Your Income By Starting a Proofreading Business

If you are ready to work for yourself by starting your own proofreading business, you’ll be able to maximize your full earning potential.

To get started, I recommend you find some general business books on Amazon about the following:

  1. Setting up a business entity.
  2. Sales and Marketing
  3. Business Bookkeeping and Accounting Basics

The next step will be to get your website set up, it’s recommended you pay a designer to do this for you.

You’ll want to create a blog on your website as well. This way you can create articles about proofreading so you can share your knowledge with prospective clients. In return, you’ll get more conversions on your website with a blog than, without.

With a blog, you’ll also increase the chances of someone finding your website by doing a search on Google.

In addition, look into setting up Social Media so you can promote yourself as well by sharing out tips and blog articles from your website.

Linkedin would be a great choice for reaching higher-end clients.

Lastly, you can always network and build relationships with others in a particular industry and get proofreading work that way as well.

Just look for business networking events in your local city using Meetup.com, which is a great resource for finding events.

You can also seek out online spaces and groups on Social media. Again, Linkedin is great for this but so is Twitter.

As you find proofreading work for your business, make sure you do a good job for your clients. In return, this will help provide you with referrals from your existing clients so you can keep growing and create a nice stream of repeat business for you over time.

Final Thoughts

Proofreading is a perfect job or side gig for anyone who enjoys reading and does not mind correcting spelling errors and grammar while they are doing it.

The huge appeal of doing proofreading work is the fact that you can do it 100% remotely from anywhere, with NO OFFICE to report to.

Practice your reading and writing skills for the type of content you want to specialize in, then market yourself as a freelancer or expert proofreader for that niche. You’ll be able to get more jobs, gigs, and more pay as a result.

If you really want to maximize your earnings with proofreading, remember, you have the option of starting a business and bringing in others to work under you so you can scale your earnings as high as you want.

Thanks for reading, I hope you got something out of this article, be sure to check out my other articles for making money online.

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