You have a knack for the written word – specifically grammar, spelling, and formatting – and you’ve decided that you want to offer your services as a proofreader. Good for you! Proofreading is a growing industry and one that will always be needed. From authors to website owners to blog posts and journal articles; there is so much content out there that needs to be proofread. You can also make a pretty decent living for yourself if you have great skills, offer high-quality results, and land some great clients on a regular basis.
With all of that said, however, if you’re new to the proofreading industry, you’re probably wondering where to get started. How do you go about offering your services as a proofreader and finding clients? Read on for some handy tips that you can use to start your own proofreading business.
What is a proofreader?
First, let’s clarify what a proofreader is. A lot of people confuse editing and proofreading, and it’s important to understand that while they’re both equally important, they’re very different parts of the writing process. Editing occurs prior to proofreading and entails the stuff that makes up the bigger picture, such as restructuring, erasing big parts of text that aren’t needed, and just making sure that the content flows and reads well for the audience that it’s intended for.
Proofreading, however, is the last stage of the writing process. It’s involves meticulously reviewing the content with a fine-tooth comb to check for things like spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors. This part of the writing process helps to ensure that a final draft is polished and ready to be published.
What skills do professional proofreaders need?
In order to become a professional proofreader, you need to have a firm grasp on the written language. You have to have a firm understanding of grammar, syntax, punctuation, and formatting. Depending on who you work for, you may need to have a degree, such as a BA or an MS in English; however, that isn’t always the case. There’s no doubt, however, that you’ll be asked to share samples of your proofreading skills with prospective clients. They may even ask you to do a sample proof of a piece of content that they provide. It’s important to note that if you’re asked to proof a sample, make sure that you are paid for your services; it may be a lower rate than what you would be paid if you were hired, but you shouldn’t offer your proofreading services for free – even if it’s for a sample.
Determine your proofreading niche
There are so many different types of writing, so you want to make sure that you figure out what niche you are most adept to correct the writing for. Examples of different niches that you can proofread for include:
- Books and manuscripts
- Website content
- Blog posts
- Journal and magazine articles
- Legal documents
- Court reports
- College papers
Do note that each of these niches will have their own unique requirements in regard to language and formatting, so you’ll want to be sure that you’re well-versed in the specific niche that you intend on proofreading for.
Look for proofreading jobs
Once you’ve determined what niche you’d like to proof for and you have your samples and credentials in order, it’s time to start looking for work in this sector. A great way for beginners to land work is by using job boards that post content writing and proofreading jobs, like Indeed.com. You can also try to advertise your services on online forums, as well as on job websites, or even in the newspaper or on your social media profiles.