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5 Things Successful Freelance Proofreaders Do to Get Ahead… Even Without an English Degree

Updated: April 21, 2015

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  1. Your article piqued my interest even though I’m not proofreading for money yet. You’ve listed basic good-business practices that transfer well to any industry, including clothing alterations which is my business.

    1. Sweet 😀 I’m glad you found it interesting. You are right — good communication and marketing are essential to any industry!

  2. While I am not in the industry of proofreading for pay as of yet, your article piqued my interest. I found it helpful not only for proofreading but just in good business manners and trying to work online. I am currently trying to freelance my skills and work from home besides starting a blog.

    1. Hi Rusty!

      Have you signed up for our free 7-day intro course yet? A lot of our readers and students find it very helpful when determining if proofreading is right for them. 🙂

      1. No I haven’t but think it might be something I would be interested in doing before fully committing.

  3. I was a medical transcriptionist for several years. I earned my AA Certification for medical transcription in 1998. Is there much need for proofreaders in the medical field? How and where would you go about advertising and putting out the word in this field?

    1. Hi Julie!

      Wherever there is written text, there is a need for proofreaders. I’m not entirely sure where you would market to become a medical proofreader, but I’m confident there’s a niche out there. The course offers all the information you need in Module 8 for marketing yourself as a proofreader and finding your target client. You also might be interested in our sister site, Transcribe Anywhere. Here is a post about the difference between medical and general transcription and what the market currently looks like there. Hope this helps! 🙂

  4. I’m a court reporter and I’ve used proofers for many years. I think what we want is someone who really knows English grammar and punctuation, has a wide knowledge, and understands the legal format – but mainly, someone who doesn’t get lazy after a few weeks or months of working with the same reporter. That is the main problem I find: Everyone does a great job at first, and then, later, get too comfortable and proof too fast. Smart and diligent – a rare combination.

    1. Mark! Thank you for your feedback. It’s great to hear from court reporters on what they value in a proofreader. I couldn’t agree with you more.

  5. Interesting article, full of good advice.
    So much more to learn than “just” proofreading. Appreciate the fact that an English degree is not a requirement.
    Finding a niche is valid in any industry and waiting for the clients to arrive hardly ever gives a result. At least not until you are well known and established in a niche.
    Thank you for publishing this.

  6. So if I am a freelance proofreader and I just use, for example, amberbrownproofreader as a web domain name and create a website, do I need to register that as a business name? Or can I just work freelance under that website name.

    1. Good question! Each state has different guidelines for registering a business name, so you should probably research what is required by your state. 🙂

      1. Okay thanks! I checked and I don’t think La requires me to do that. So that would mean I’m working under my own name, and when I bill a client through Freshbooks it would be my name and not my website name? Since I don’t technically have a business, I’m just freelancing under my name. Sorry for all the questions it is just so much to take in!

        1. You should be able to bill under your name, but just to be sure, you should consult regulations in your state. 🙂

  7. I notice so many typos in online articles. I’m sure they are just entered incorrectly and that the writer did not make those mistakes.
    But, why do some of the major newspapers not proofread their online material?
    Recently, I had to tell a Huffington Post writer about the obvious error.

  8. Hi! I’m just curious…I listened to your webinar yesterday was intrigued. I, too, am a word nerd, have some background in transcription for the legal profession and am looking for a way to supplement, then replace, my current income. In your webinar, you say (multiple times) that there is literally TONS of work out there. Then I go to this blog, and one of the first sentences is “There are droves of talented folks — and droves of, um, not-so-talented folks — all competing for what seems like a rather small amount of work.” So, which is it?

    1. Hi, Lorri! What we mean is that it can seem like a small amount of work when you niche down, but there are many niches out there! Just think about the amount of written content available, and they all must be proofread first. 🙂

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