Do you have a boss?
What’s your least favorite thing about your boss?
Decide how much you get paid?
Have the power to say “No” when you want to take a vacation?
Constantly look over your shoulder and micromanage what you’re doing?
That last one is particularly irritating, especially when the higher up bosses get in the company, the further removed they are from knowing the best way to get the work done.
We’ve all been there. Many of us have worked in the corporate or retail worlds.
We’ve all been in a position where other people dictate how we should work.
Hey, I’ve been there too, and I couldn’t wait to escape it — even if my escape route turned out to be a brutal firing!
And I know I’m not the only one who has typed “How to be your own boss?” into Google.
Fed up with the monotony, micromanagement, and migraines that came with her full-time job, Ashley was searching for something with more flexibility when she ran across Proofread Anywhere. Now she’s her own boss!
Keep reading to learn more about Ashley’s story!
Q: Hi, Ashley! Tell us a little about your background. What did your life look like before you crossed paths with PA?
I spent nine years after college working as an accounts receivable help desk agent. I sat in a cubicle and answered phones, responded to emails and faxes, and made a ton of collection calls. It was great at first because I really liked the people I was working with, but I eventually became frustrated by the monotony of doing the same things month after month with management constantly looking over my shoulder.
Working in the office was also taking a toll on my health. I was suffering from frequent migraine headaches, which I think were caused by the dust and fluorescent lighting and exacerbated by food smells from the break room microwave. I finally decided to resign and find more enjoyable work that would potentially give me the flexibility to do some writing.
Q: I hear ya! It’s no fun having someone constantly looking over your shoulder. When did you start proofreading, and what made you decide to learn how to proofread?
One day shortly after leaving my job in the spring of 2017, I saw an ad for Proofread Anywhere on Facebook. Aside from being targeted toward stay-at-home moms, I felt like it was talking about me. I loved reading, had a pretty keen eye, and wanted to work from home and set my own hours. I think I probably read Caitlin’s entire website, and then I sent her a friend request. After mulling it over for a few weeks, I made one of the best decisions of my life and enrolled in Beginner Basecamp, level one of the Transcript Proofreading: Theory and Practice course.
Q: I’m so happy you made that decision! What was the most challenging part of getting started?
For me, the most challenging part of getting started was time management because I had no imposed deadline. I definitely struggled with procrastination until I discovered the Pomodoro Technique, which I am still using today. I found that it was much easier to motivate myself to study for 25 minutes at a time with 5-minute breaks between sessions. Then I came across Focus Booster, an awesome timer app that lets me label my sessions and keeps track of how much time I spend on different tasks.
Q: Thanks for sharing your productivity tips with us! What was the most valuable thing you learned during the course?
The most valuable thing I learned during the course was that punctuation is an art, not a science. Of course, there are tons of nitpicky little rules and I got plenty of practice using them, but ultimately my job is to make sure my clients’ transcripts are readable. I have to be able to follow their individual preferences, even when those might differ from the rules I learned, because it’s their name on the finished product.
Q: Proofreading transcripts is a totally different kettle of fish than proofreading general documents. It can take a while to get used to it. How long did it take you to find your first client? And how many clients do you have now?
After launching my business, it took me four months to find my first one-off client and another month and a half to find my first regular client. I now have two regular clients and a few others who send me work when they get busy.
Here’s what one of Ashley’s happy clients has to say!
Q: That’s awesome! How long did it take you to recoup the cost of the course?
I recouped the cost of the course about nine months after passing the final exam transcript. Now it’s been about twenty months since I completed the course, and I have earned a little over $6,200.
Q: What advice would you give anyone thinking about enrolling in the course to learn how to proofread? Is it worth the money?
The PA course is absolutely worth the money. I would advise anyone who is thinking about enrolling to read all of the positive testimonials Caitlin’s students have shared. You should know that it’s going to take a lot of time and effort, but you will have an incredibly supportive community to help along the way. Oh, and I definitely recommend investing in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones.
Q: The community we’ve built is my favorite thing about the course! What does your life look like now as a working freelance proofreader?
I absolutely love working as a freelance proofreader. I decide my own schedule and I don’t have to follow a dress code or talk on the phone. I’m in control of my own work environment, so I rarely get migraines anymore. Every month is different and I get to learn about all kinds of things, from accident reconstruction to zoology. And I’m proud to be part of an industry predominantly made up of amazing women!
Q: Girl Power! 😉 Anything else you’d like to share with the PA community?
I’m super excited to announce that I am putting the finishing touches on a proofreading job tracker template for Google Sheets. I shared some screenshots of my personal tracker in the PA Graduate Huddle group on Facebook a while ago and got a lot of positive feedback, so I decided to make some improvements and offer copies to my fellow proofers who might not be as familiar with setting up useful spreadsheets. I’ve added some neat bells and whistles to help you visualize trends and monitor your workload, and now I just need to test it a bit to make sure everything works correctly. Keep an eye on peacockwordsmithing.com/for-proofreaders/ for updates!
Wow! The tracker looks awesome, Ashley! A lot of people struggle with productivity and procrastination when they start working for themselves. Thank you for sharing your best productivity tips with us.
Sick of having a boss breathing down your neck all the time? Check out our free 7-day Intro to Proofreading email course to learn how you can be your own boss as a full-time or part-time proofreader!