Do you feel hemmed in by your regular 9-to-5 job?
I’m going to come right out and say it: Two weeks of vacation time a year is NOT enough! Life is for living. Why spend most of it stuck in a cubicle or behind a store counter?
There are options out there that’ll give you the freedom to take a break when you need it — whether you want to work full time or part time.
Rachel needed to find a flexible job that fits in with her travel-focused lifestyle. And she found it as a freelance court transcript proofreader!
Take it away, Rachel!
Q: Hi, Rachel! Tell us a little about your background. What did your life look like before you crossed paths with PA?
I was newly married and working a full-time, 8–5 job. It was a great job, but I didn’t have the freedom I wanted to be able to travel, spend more time with my husband, etc. Not to mention, I only got paid what the company gave me! There wasn’t much room for growth.
Q: That’s the great thing about being your own boss. There’s no cap on how much you can earn! When did you start proofreading, and what made you decide to learn how to proofread transcripts for court reporters?
I had always been pretty good at English, and I was always the person in school everyone would pass their papers to to proof before they turned them in. When I came across an article with Caitlin that talked about Proofread Anywhere, it piqued my interest. I did a lot of research on it and thought about it for a few months, then finally decided to take the leap to give it a try! I began the Transcript Proofreading: Theory and Practice course in late January 2016, graduated in early June 2016, and began working the end of June.
Q: What was the most challenging part of getting started?
I think everyone would agree on this — marketing! It’s very nerve-racking to send emails, make phone calls, reach out to agencies, etc. You know you’re capable, but you still have to work through the mental negative talk of “Am I good enough to do this?” Once I got my first proofreading job, my confidence skyrocketed, and it wasn’t so scary!
Q: Confidence comes with practice! What was the most valuable thing you learned during the course?
How to proofread transcripts (since they’re so different) and marketing. I really enjoyed the part on how to get business!
Q: Transcripts for court reporters are very niche specific since you’re proofreading spoken word. I wouldn’t recommend anyone proofread legal transcripts without proper training. How long did it take you to find your first client? And how many clients do you have now?
I’d say it took about two weeks before I found my first client. I have about 10–15 regulars now! I’d say my income ranges from $2,500 (on a slow month) to $4,000+ (on a busy month)!
Q: Nice! You’re killing it. How long did it take you to recoup the cost of the course?
Within the first month and a half, I had already made back my money for the course (luckily, I already had an iPad).
Q: What advice would you give anyone thinking about enrolling in the course to learn how to proofread? Is it worth the money?
It is ABSOLUTELY worth the money. Think about it — it’s an investment into your future. We spend money on things all the time that don’t help us grow, change us, or challenge us. It’s worth it to invest in yourself and your future.
Q: We are all worth the investment! What does your life look like now as a working court transcript proofreader? I hear you’ve just gotten back from an epic hiking trip?
It has given me so much more than just a way to earn money. It’s given me freedom and a new confidence that I can do anything I set my mind to do. If I can successfully start a business and control what money I make, what else can I do?
I had a dream of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail (a 2,192-mile trail from Georgia to Maine), and because of my proofreading business, I was able to save up the money needed and take the time off to do it. If I was still at that 8–5 job, I really doubt I could just say, “Hey, I’m going to leave work for 6 months. See ya when I get back!” But with proofing, I was able to get my clients taken care of so I could take the time I needed to complete this dream, and all of them have taken me back since I got finished! It feels really great to have control over your life and your finances. That’s not something many people can say!
Note from Caitlin: Rachel documented her whole trek on her YouTube channel Hiking with Arrow! Check it out if you’ve been dreaming of hiking the Appalachian Trial Trail. (Would you have caught that typo? If so, click here!)
Rachel reaching the summit!
Q: That sounds awesome! I’m so glad you have the freedom to travel more. Anything else you’d like to share with the PA community?
Whatever it may be, don’t be afraid to go after your dream! Life is just too short to let everything and everyone else but you dictate your time, money, and happiness. We allow people, society, and even our surroundings to put limits on us, and we tell ourselves that we could never do “that.” I’m here to tell you that you CAN and you SHOULD! Maybe it doesn’t work, but what if it does?
Doesn’t Rachel’s trip sound amazing?! But we needn’t be jealous. We can all create the freedom to travel more if we take control of our own lives. As Rachel says, don’t let anyone but you dictate your happiness! I love that her clients took her back when she returned home. It just shows how awesome a proofreader she is!
If you’d love to travel more and spend more time with your family (and pets) like Rachel does, then check out our free 7-day proofreading course to see if proofreading for court reporters is your ticket to freedom!