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How Mary Found Success by Working from Home


We all face ’em… and usually not just once. Sometimes it feels like we face setback after setback after setback. 

It can be tempting to wallow in self-pity when faced with disappointment. But there is another way. 

There is a way to rise above the disappointment. 

Just keep going. Keep pushing forward until you achieve your goals. Prove the naysayers (including yourself!) wrong!

In a couple of years when you look back on how far you’ve come, you’ll be glad you kept going — even though it seemed like the hardest thing in the world at the time. 

Mary didn’t let the loss of her job due to chronic illness hold her back. She picked herself up and found a way to use her other talents to earn an income — and restore her self-worth. 

Her setback did indeed lead to a comeback.

Keep reading to hear more about Mary’s story. And stay tuned to the end — Mary shares some wise words you need to hear!

Q: Welcome, Mary! Tell us a little about your background. What did your life look like before you crossed paths with PA?

Try working from home as a way to overcome previous career setbacks

When I found PA, my life was in a major transition. Throughout most of my life (even in childhood) I’ve had at least one “side hustle” going, yet I have always been in the traditional workforce: go to work, perform job, collect paycheck, repeat. But, in early March of 2019, I separated from my employer of the past 19 years.

The termination was no surprise — It had been deemed, medically, that I was not “fit for duty.” In other words, I could no longer perform all the material duties of the position I held, even with what is known as reasonable accommodations. BOTTOM LINE: While I very much enjoyed my job and had no wish to leave it, it had become physically impossible for me to remain on the job. I was no longer able to perform my duties consistently and to the standard set by my then-employer, let alone perform to my own exacting standards.

So, as I stated, the termination was no surprise. After all, there was no indication of when/whether I might ever be released, medically, to return to the ranks of the traditionally employed. The only option was for me to move to long-term disability status; a move that required my termination. Despite the fact that I understood this process intellectually, it was a major blow emotionally. Now I was facing not only the insecurities & fears that come with chronic illness but I was also facing a crisis of self-image. The fact that these feelings and fears were entirely normal — and necessary — did not make them any easier.

I’m not a person who gives up in the face of adversity. I firmly believe in a higher plan; a plan that may lead me along unexpected, unanticipated, or even unwanted paths in order to deliver me to my destination. So even as I wept — even as I went through anger, fear, frustration, depression — I reminded myself that setbacks pave the way for comebacks.

Q: I love your attitude! The only real way to fail is to give up. When did you start proofreading, and what made you decide to learn how to proofread?

In my “offline life” I have always been a proofreader :0) — I just didn’t go by that title. It’s literally something that I’ve been doing ever since I could read. But, I officially started proofreading as a specific business venture in mid-2019.

As to how I ended up in the PA community —

During all the transition & turmoil I spoke of, I continued as much of my normal routine as possible, to stay grounded. I continued to participate in Facebook groups, continued my side hustle as an internet marketer, mostly providing input to entrepreneurs on keeping focus, gaining clarity, being authentic, and not clinging to methodologies or ideologies that no longer serve you. So it was that I stumbled on a post by Caitlin in a group I had been part of for years. It was a firebrand post, relating what she had gone through with her ex, what she was still going through because of him, even that the attitudes towards her in that particular Facebook group were critical and limiting rather than supportive and freeing.

Her journey and her raw, unvarnished, take-no-prisoners post immediately resonated with me. It was the beacon lighting the entrance to the unexpected/unanticipated/possibly unwanted path I mentioned before. I knew I MUST find out more and follow that beacon.

THAT is how I ended up at Proofread Anywhere. :0)

Q: I’m so glad my story resonated with you and helped put you on the journey you’re on now. What was the most challenging part of getting started?

I would say getting that first client. I finished the course in July, and I had already had a physically and emotionally challenging year. Reinventing myself and then putting myself on the market, going through the client acquisition process, facing the inevitable rejection — all these were things I was not looking forward to doing.

Q: What was the most valuable thing you learned during the course?

The most valuable thing has nothing to do with proofreading, per se. What I learned was how powerful I am — or anyone is, for that matter — when our dreams and our “authentic self” are allowed to become (and remain) bigger than our fears and the limitations other people put on us.

Q: Preach! We are in charge of our lives — no one else! How long did it take you to find your first client? And how many clients do you have now?

Try working from home as a way to overcome previous career setbacks

Let me preface this by saying that I didn’t immediately start looking for clients when I finished the General Proofreading course. Instead, I enrolled in, and hit the ground running on, the Transcript Proofreading course. Only once I reached the point of purchasing the Transcript Proofreading lifetime access did I start looking in earnest for proofreading/copyediting clients. I accepted my first general proofreading client between 45 and 60 days after that.

I really don’t know how many clients I have. As I mentioned earlier, I have always had side gigs in addition to a 9-to-5 job. Most of my freelance clients have been benefiting from my proofreading skills for years. Even though they didn’t specifically retain my services for that purpose, I’ve now raised my fees across the board to cover the proofreading aspect of the work I do for all clients.

Q: Good on you for charging what you’re worth! How long did it take you to recoup the cost of the course?

That’s a great question! The fact is, the first payment from the first specifically-wanting-proofreading client was more than enough to cover the course fee. I earn back double the cost of the General Proofreading course every month from just one of my ongoing proofreading clients — working part-time — and my proofreading rates & turnaround times are VERY competitive.

Q: What advice would you give anyone thinking about enrolling in the course to learn how to proofread? Is it worth the money?

It’s definitely worth the money! In fact, with the recent course upgrades, it’s MORE than worth the money. It doesn’t matter how proficient you already are at language or proofreading or marketing yourself, there is something more for you to learn from Caitlin’s course.

Q: What does your life look like now that you are working from home as a freelance proofreader?

Well, the turmoil is still there; I won’t deny that! But now, it’s part of the “Swan Effect” of an entrepreneur’s life, not the chaos of a life in upheaval.

Instead of worrying about coordinating with my employer to take the time I need to manage my health and well-being or take a vacation, I am completely in charge of when, where, and how much I work. In addition, I don’t accept jobs that I don’t want to do, and I don’t accept clients I don’t want to work with — something totally different than what happens when you’re an employee of someone else. Now, I manage my workload, I decide when my day begins and ends, and I determine how much my work is worth.

Q: Having the freedom to live your life on your terms is priceless. Anything else you’d like to share with the PA community?

Ha! OK. In the PA community I am well known for my direct manner and straightforward advice, so I’ll stay true to that in what I have to share.

There are a lot of you out there who are dragging your heels, are waiting for the “right” moment, or are otherwise putting off starting or completing the course. You tell yourself (and the group) things like —

BUT I don’t have the time because…

BUT I’m not good with technology…

BUT it’s not as easy as I imagined it was going to be…

BUT I don’t have/can’t afford to get a new iPad/laptop/whatever…

BUT I’ve always…

BUT I’ve never…


My advice? 

Get off your “BUT… .”

Get over yourself.

Get on with it.

Our Take

You’ve gotta love a straight talker! I love how Mary didn’t let the loss of a job she enjoyed hold her back. She jumped right back on the horse and created a business on her own terms. Way to go, Mary!

Your Turn

Have you lost your job due to long-term disability and need to find a new income? Or you just want the freedom to set your own hours like Mary does? Check out our FREE Intro to Proofreading workshop to learn how working from home as a proofreader could be the start of your new life!

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